St. Peter knew what it meant to care for the flock of Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22, 2019): 1PT 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.
This feast calls us to a greater understanding of the power of the pope first bestowed on Peter by Christ Himself.
When Jesus wants to know who his closest followers believe Him to be, it is Peter who speaks up for them. Through divine revelation, he proclaims that Jesus is God’s Son. In turn Jesus announces that Peter is the foundation of His community of faith and empowered with singular authority. But that did not prevent him from making errors and showing weakness in the days and years to come.
Nonetheless, Peter took His role seriously. In the reading from his first letter that we hear at Mass today, Peter advises all those with authority in the Church to fulfill their responsibilities faithfully. “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, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:1-2). As Christ’s Vicar, Peter did his best to lead and to serve all people who followed our Savior – and passed on his authority to the popes who came after him.
Suggested missionary action: Let us pray to St. Peter, asking his guidance for Pope Francis. We can also ask Peter to guide every Church leader in following the way of Christ and offering good example to Catholics around the world.