Christ our Lord gave to St. Peter and his successors the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Let us all live in service to our King.
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22, 2021): 1 PT 5:1-4; PS 23:3,4,5,6; 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.
As Pope Francis has said, “Let us make our own the words of Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. May our thoughts and our gaze be fixed on Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end of all actions of the Church.…"
In the Gospel reading for this Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we meet Jesus surrounded by His disciples. He questions them about what other people are saying about Him, particularly who they think He truly is. Obviously, they have heard a lot of opinions including John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Now Christ comes to the real question for them. “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am”’ Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father.’” (Matthew 16:16-17)
It is at this point that our Lord reveals the singular divine plans He has for Peter. He announces that this Galilean fisherman who at various times exhibits temper, pride, and disloyalty will nevertheless be the Supreme Pontiff of Jesus’ Church. Peter will be the rock, the foundation of the Body of Christ. Despite personal failures, Peter will have the prime authority to lead the followers of our Savior. Along with the help of the Apostles and other bishops, he will direct the teaching authority of the Church as the Pope. Peter will be the first in a long line of Vicars of Christ, leading the Church for two thousand years and more. In his own way, each Pope has answered the question that Jesus asked Peter. Clearly it is one that every Christian needs to consider as well. As Pope Francis has said, “Let us make our own the words of Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. May our thoughts and our gaze be fixed on Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end of all actions of the Church.… From this profession of faith derives for each of us the task of corresponding to the call of God.” Let us follow Peter in saying, “Yes!” to all that Christ our King asks of us.
Suggested missionary action: We can resolve to pray daily for the Pope as well as for all bishops. We can ask Christ to provide His guidance to all who exercise authority in the Church as leaders and – above all – servants of His beloved flock.
Give with heart this Lent. Put resources in the hands of missionaries in the Pope’s missions who are serving the poor and battling COVID-19.