Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
1 Peter 5:1-4, Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, & Matthew 16:13-19
Image of St. Peter's Altar with its baroque bronze canopy by master Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The "chair" in the title of today's feast is not really, of course, a piece of furniture. Rather on this day, February 22, we observe the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, celebrating the doctrine that "Christ the Lord…made Peter and his successors His vicars, to exercise forever in the Church the power which He exercised during His mortal life." The feast commemorates the spiritual authority of the one who is called to exercise the role of Peter in the church, first by Peter himself and now Pope Francis.
In today's Gospel narrative, Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied that people believed He was John the Baptist or one of the other prophets. He then asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus will ask each of us this question. He will look at you, call you by name, and ask you, "Who do you say that I am?" What will be your response? Will you remain silent, or will you respond to Him from the depths of your heart and proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the Living God?
Prayer: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter's confession of faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever."