Today we revere St. Peter as the first Vicar of Christ and recognize the authority of all the Popes who succeeded him
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22, 2020): 1 PT 5:1-4; PS 23:1-3,4,5,6; MT 16:13-19
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this feast honoring the Chair of St. Peter, we venerate the man chosen by Christ to be the first leader of His Church on earth.
But, more than that, we acknowledge and honor the authority of the Church passed down from Peter, the first Pope, to our current Pope Francis – and on into the future. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks His disciples to tell Him who other people think He is. Obviously, they had heard a number of opinions, such as John the Baptist, Elijah, and other prophets. Then Christ asks them what they believe. Just who do they say He is? It is Peter who speaks up and states that Jesus is not only the Messiah, but also the Son of God. Our Lord seizes the moment to single him for a exceptional role: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).
Jesus Christ is the founder and head of His Church and He named St. Peter as His first Vicar. Peter was the first among the Apostles, and that primacy continues today. Each Pope throughout the generations remains first among all bishops. Our Savior might have chosen anyone to fulfill this position, but He selected one who was as recognizable for his flaws as for his faith. The New Testament reveals that over and over Peter stumbled and made foolish mistakes. Yet, perhaps, this is one of the reasons God picked Him for such an enormous challenge. If the very fallible Peter could be forgiven and trusted to carry on his extraordinary mission, we know that we, too, can always count on our Lord’s mercy to guide us through life and bring us to share with Him in eternity.