Honoring St. Peter, as the rock of Christ's Church
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 “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Today we venerate Peter as the Apostle hand-picked by Jesus to become the first to head His Church on earth.
We hear in the Gospel that Almighty God revealed to Peter that His Son Jesus was indeed the Christ our Savior. And Jesus declares that He is entrusting Peter with the keys to the heavenly kingdom and with the authority to guide His Church. This power has been handed down to each of his papal successors. Surely, Peter could not have understood all that this would mean. His responsibilities as first among the Apostles, who were themselves to be the Church’s initial bishops, would demand complete fidelity to Christ. This is the same Peter who would deny that he even knew Jesus on the night before our Lord was crucified. This is the same Peter who could weep bitterly for this terrible failure – and rush to Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning in the hope of His Resurrection.
So Peter accepted his exceptional duties and encouraged other Church leaders in their efforts to spread the Good News and to care for the growing Christian communities. “I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst … as God would have it.… Be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3). Like all human beings, Peter was imperfect. But he led the way for all the Vicars of Christ who would follow him in serving God and guiding His people.
Suggested missionary action: Today, we ask St. Peter to help us have a better appreciation of our faith. We can also ask him to guide all those who strive to spread the Church of Jesus Christ around the world. And we ask him to pray for the wisdom and well being of Pope Francis.