“Our faith will never be true unless it is united to that of Saint Peter and the Pontiff, his successors.” ~ Saint Alphonsus Liguori
On this the 22nd day of the 2nd month of the calendar year 2022, a uniquely rarefied moment in time when deuces pack the power of aces, our Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Feast-Of-The-Chair-Of-Saint-Peter. Today we commemorate and reflect upon Peter’s authority as head of the Apostles as well as the authority of all those who succeed him, from his immediate afterbearer Pope Linus in the year 67 AD on up to the current Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. To Peter and to all those who follow in his papal footsteps, primacy over the Catholic Church has been granted.
With the nations of the world in such a constant state of disarray, turmoil and upheaval, it’s comforting to point out that the papacy is in fact the longest running judicial office in the history of the world. The gates of the netherworld shall not, as Jesus promised in today’s Gospel, prevail in its relentless battle against Christ’s Bride the Church. It is this promise that emboldens Catholics the world over, for nestled within this promise resides our hope. The journey home to the Father’s House can be tumultuous at times, this we can all attest to. Jesus never promised that it would be easy; only that it would be worth it. That the battle had already been won by His Most Precious Blood.
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” This is Jesus’ question to his Apostles in today’s Gospel (Matthew 16:13-19). John the Baptist, Elijah, even Jeremiah were but a handful of the names offered up by the speculative crowd, this according to the Twelve. But when Jesus posed a different question, “But who do you say that I am?” it was Peter who promptly responded “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus’ response would indeed cement Peter’s legacy:
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, 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.”
It was through pure discipleship that Peter grew in his wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God, prompting Jesus’ prescient observation: “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” These most cherished and coveted Gifts of the Holy Spirit are freely available to all who seek them, but they come only through discipleship. There is no other way. We are all called to discipleship, called to claim our own “chair” if you will. Peter is but one member of Christ’s Mystical Body. To thrive in the way that God envisioned we would, it requires all members to step up and perform their vital role and yes, all roles are equally vital https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Mystici-Corporis-Christi-Revisited.
Bask in the joy of your role as part of Christ‘s Mystical Body. Treasure the fullness and richness of the truth, something that all disciples are called to bear witness to. It is your mission, my mission, and every disciple’s mission to spread this truth. To be unwavering in our defense of it. And may we all revel in Jesus’ remarkable promise:
The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail.
“Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, or you have set us fast on the rock of the apostle peters confession of faith.“ ~ Amen
Saint Peter, rock of our church, pray for us….