Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
First Letter of Saint Peter, Psalm 23, & Matthew 16:13-19
The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle is not a celebration involving a "piece of furniture." Since the fourth century, this feast has been celebrated as a sign of unity of the Church founded upon that Apostle as recorded in today's Gospel narrative of Saint Matthew. We learn today that this feast signifies the teaching authority of the Pope as the successor of Peter.
Authority in the Church, or elsewhere, can be intimidating if thought of in terms of who might be in charge. The task of leadership is service. Peter, himself, in today's first reading, directs priests to give to those entrusted to them a shepherd's care. This type of care involves deep concern and a loving response to all members of the Christian faith.
I suspect the most significant challenge in providing a shepherd's care is the blessings provided by Vatican II. The Council of Trent necessarily strove for unity after the Protestant Reformation. Unfortunately, it seems a Western European mindset was imposed that overlooked the richness of spirituality and various cultures' liturgical expression. We presently realize the Hispanic, Native American, African American, Asian, and other cultures' contributions to our American Church, which is a good thing!
Friends, as we celebrate this feast, the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle, we must be mindful of the necessity and challenges of leadership and authority in the Church. The model is given us by Jesus, namely, a shepherd's care.
Question of the Day: How will you pray for others that their faith in Jesus may not fail?
Prayer: "The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." (Psalm 23)