Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (22nd February, 2017) on the Gospel and the Feast
Ps 22. (R. v.1);
The Chair of Saint Peter (Cathedra Petri), also known as the Throne of Saint Peter, is a relic conserved in St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a symbol of the authority of the Bishop of Rome (Pope) as Vicar of Christ and successor of Saint Peter. This feast was celebrated on January 18 and February 22. In 1960 however Pope John XXIII removed from the General Roman Calendar eight feast days that were second feasts of a single saint or mystery: one of them was the January 18 feast of the Chair of Peter
Topic: Beyond flesh and blood.
In today’s gospel Jesus asked His disciples of the people’s view of Himself. They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matt 16:14). Afterwards, Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15). To this Peter declared, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). And in return Jesus said to him,
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt 16:17-19).
The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter is among other things a symbol of the unity of the church Christ established on Saint Peter when He said, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”. Peter is blessed because it was not flesh and blood that revealed to him the divinity of Jesus Christ, but our Father in heaven.
It is important therefore to go beyond flesh and blood in following God lest we continue to either follow hearsay or our own wills. And none of these can make us to be blessed. God wants all of us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, cf. Jn 4:24. Let no one be carried away by all sorts of strange doctrines, cf. Heb 13:9. Many today across denominations teach human wills often carefully dressed with God’s word as the word of God, cf. Matt 15:9. We must ensure that we worship God and not man. And every leader must also remember that the day of reckoning is fast approaching for everyone to give account of his or her words and actions, cf. Heb 13:17. Finally, the judgement of the leaders will be stricter, cf. Jas 3:1.
Bible Reading: Heb 13:1-19; 1Jn 2:18-28.
Thought for today: What teachings do you follow – human or God’s?
Let us pray: Lord, open our eyes to see your Son Jesus Christ and also give us the courage to follow Him – Amen.
Saint Peter the apostle – Pray for us.
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