“I brought you something,” Puah said when she went over to Tobias’ flat the following evening. She gave him something wrapped in aluminum foil.
“What is it?” he asked.
“A large slice of cake.”
His eyebrows. “Cake. Thank you. And thank your grandmother too.”
“My grandmother didn’t make it,” Puah informed him. “I did.”
“You did?” he sounded surprised and he saw her grimace.
“I can bake and cook, you know.”
“Yes, really. Once of these days, I can come over here and cook you anything you like.”
“Be careful. I might just take you up on that.”
“I promise you, you’ll be in for a treat.”
Curious, he opened the foil. It had pecans and what looked like frosting on top. “What type of cake is it?” he asked.
“It’s a Hummingbird cake. It’s Jamaican. My family’s from there, you know. This was a favorite. It’s flavored with banana, pineapple, pecans, lots of warm spices and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. It was originally called Doctor Bird Cake. Believe me, you’re going to love it. I baked it yesterday.”
“Thank you. I will have it later with a cup of tea.”
While he went to the kitchen, she went straight to the living-room. She sat down on the divan by the window. It was after seven but it was still very bright outside. The sun wasn’t going to set until around 8. She hoped that Tobias would enjoy the cake. And as far as cooking a meal for him, she was very serious about that. If she had her way, she would cook and bake for him every day. She wondered if Yasma would be willing to do the same. Did she even know how to cook?
Tobias came into the living-room but instead of joining her on the divan, he sat on the floor. He saw that she was a bit put out and said, “It’s cooler over here.”
“Thanks for sending me the Sabbath School lesson. I’m going to study the first lesson tonight before I go to bed.”
“You’re welcome. Did you tell your grandmother that you’re coming to church on Saturday?”
“Yes and she would like to come too.”
“She’s more than welcome to come.”
“Does Yasma cook or bake?”
“I guess so.”
“Don’t you know for sure?”
“So, she has never cooked or baked for you?”
Puah was relieved to hear that.
“Why do you always ask me about Yasma?”
She shrugged. “I’m just curious about her, that’s all. Don’t you like me asking about her?”
“All right, I won’t ask about her any more.”
“Would you like it if I kept asking you about your boyfriend if you had one?”
“I wouldn’t mind.”
“How come you don’t have one?”
“I’m not looking.” The thought had occurred to her to try to see if she could make him jealous over one of the guys at school but decided against it. The plan might just backfire.
To be quite honest, he was glad that she didn’t have one. “So, do you have any Bible questions today?”
She was relieved that he had changed the subject. “Just two. Was Peter the first Pope? What did Jesus mean when He said to him, “Upon this rock, I will build My church?”
“Before Jesus said that, He had asked the disciples who men said that He was. After they answered that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, He then asked they who they said He was. It was Peter who said that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus told him that it was God, the Father who had revealed this to Peter. Then, Jesus said to Him, you are Peter, Petros and upon this rock, I will build My church. Jesus wasn’t talking about building His church on Peter. The word used for Rock was Petra which means a big, unmovable boulder, not Petros which is a pebble or rolling stone.
“We know that Jesus is the Rock, Petra because this is the word, Paul used to describe Him in his first letter to the Corinthians. When he spoke about Moses and the people in the wilderness, he said, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. The rock used for Rock was Petra, the same word Jesus used. The church was built upon Christ, the Rock of salvation. So, Jesus was basically telling Peter in the hearing of the other disciples, You are right. This was revealed to you by My Father. And I am telling you that upon this Rock (Me) I will build My church.”
“Catholics believe that the church was built on Peter.”
“It doesn’t make sense that the church would be built on the man whom Jesus rebuked shortly after because he didn’t tried to prevent Him from going to Jerusalem because he misunderstood His mission and who denied Him three times. No, the church was built on Christ. That’s why He’s the Head and we are His body. Peter isn’t the head of the church nor is the Pope, but Christ is.”
“So, Peter wasn’t the first Pope?”
“Peter wasn’t a Pope period. He was an apostle and an elder in the church. Besides, he was married.”
“That’s true. And as far as I know, Popes aren’t supposed to be married. I have another question. What were the keys of the kingdom that Jesus gave to Peter? I’ve seen images of the statue of Peter in Vatican City, holding a giant key.”
“The key is a symbol of authority. The keys weren’t literal keys and they weren’t given only to Peter. “The keys of the kingdom of heaven” are the words of Christ. All the words of Holy Scripture are His and these words have power to open and to shut heaven. When Jesus said, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven, He meant that the church on earth will allow only what heaven allows and prohibit what heaven prohibits. The apostles were to teach converts to observe whatsoever Christ had commanded–nothing more and nothing less. Any church that teaches that the Rock was Peter is basically giving him equal status to Christ/God. The idea that Peter was given the power of Christ to save or not to save, to cause people to enter Heaven or enter Hell is not biblical.
“All of the disciples were given the authority to share the Gospel. They were to preach the good news about salvation and the forgiveness of sins. The keys to the kingdom were given to us by Christ to open and explain the Gospel truths with the help of the Holy Spirit. It wouldn’t have been characteristic of Jesus to favor one disciple over the others–to single out him out and give him primacy and power over them. That would only lead to problems. In the book of Revelation we see clearly that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades which is the grave and the key of David. What Jesus opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. So, according to the Scriptures, it is Jesus, not Peter, who holds the keys.”
“Thanks for explaining it to me. I always wondered where the Papacy originated from. It was all based on an misinterpretation of something Jesus said.”
She got up. “Let’s go out on the terrace for a while,” she suggested.
“All right,” he said, getting up from the floor. He stretched and then followed her out onto the terrace. It was a balmy evening. The sun would soon be setting. He leaned over the rail, looking down at the courtyard below and the dots of different shades and types of flowers. He could feel her eyes on him and he turned his head.
“Tell me something, Tobias. If Yasma weren’t in the picture, would you date me?”
He straightened up, his expression guarded now. “No.”
She looked startled. “Why not?” she demanded, walking over to him.
“You’re too young.”
“I’m eighteen. I’ll be nineteen in November.”
“And I’m thirty-five, almost twice your age.”
“So? Why are you making such a big deal about it?”
“Puah, you should be concentrating on school and–“
“Life isn’t just about school, it about so many other wonderful things like love and relationships.”
“Yes, it is but–“
“I think someone is ringing your doorbell.” Who could it be? she wondered irritably.
He excused himself and went to answer it. His heart lurched when he saw that it was Yasma. Well, they were bound to meet sooner or later. He opened the door. “Hello.”
“Hello.” Yasma hugged and kissed him. “It’s such a lovely evening, I thought I would come by and we could relax on the terrace for a while. Oh, I see you have company,” she added when they went into the living-room and she saw Puah on the terrace.
Puah turned as Yasma and Tobias stepped out onto the terrace. She tried to hide her annoyance. Why did she have to show up now?
Tobias introduced them. “This is Puah, my neighbor. Puah, this is Yasma.”
Yasma held out her hand. “Hello, Puah.”
Puah shook her hand. “Hello.”
Tobias watched them, his gaze lingering on Puah.”It’s such a great evening, Yasma decided to stop by.”
“Well, I have to be going,” Puah announced. “It was nice meeting you,” she said to Yasma. And she left the terrace.
Tobias grimaced. “I’ll be right back,” he said to Yasma.
Puah was in the foyer and about to open the door when he joined her. She turned to face him. “Don’t let me keep you from your girlfriend,” she said resentfully.
“Goodnight.” And she was gone.
He stood there, frustrated before he closed the door and leaned against it. Things were getting out of hand. If Yasma hadn’t shown up something would have transpired between Puah and him. It was only her age that was preventing him from getting involved with her. If she were at least ten years older, Yasma wouldn’t be in the picture at all.
“Coming!” Sighing heavily, he moved away from the door and rejoined Yasma on the terrace. He was going to have to wait until she was gone to have the slice of cake Puah brought him.