Read 1 Peter 5:1-4, Ps. 23, Matthew 16:13-19
“Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.’” (Matthew 16:16-18)
Today, we celebrate the feast of a chair; one chair, though not like any other chair you know of. It is not made of wood, nor is it made of stone or fiber, or brick. It is a chair that governs the entire Catholic Church all over the world; a chair that Jesus himself established which has continued to stand firm since then.
This chair is the office of the Pope, an office often symbolized by a key. As Jesus said to Peter, the first Pope: “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In this way, Jesus established the office of the Pope thereby giving authority not just to Peter but to all those who shall occupy that sacred office.
Being a leader is not all about exercising power and control. It is all about service. As we heard Jesus say “whoever would be first among you must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) Even as Jesus made Peter the head of the disciples, he was quite conscious of the fact that this office was not all about lording it over anyone but about service.
That is why as we read in our first reading, Peter himself writes: “Tend the flock of God that is in your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.”
Today is a day we pray for our Pope who is the visible head of the Church and the representative of Christ on earth. As we pray for him, we also pray for all those who assist him in the exercise of his duties as well as our Bishops, Priests, Religious and Clergy who share in his Apostolic Ministry in various degrees. Our prayer is that they may be inspired by the Holy Spirit to exercise authority by service and good example.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to lead by service. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Saint Peter's Chair – Feast. Bible Study: 1 Peter 5:1-4, Ps. 23, Matthew 16:13-19).