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TUESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

22ND FEBRUARY 2022


FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF SAINT PETER, APOSTLE


HOMILY: ..."ON THIS ROCK, I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH"!


INTRO: Today, Mother Church celebrates the FEAST known as the CHAIR OF ST. PETER. We are not honoring the structure on which St. Peter or other Popes have sat, rather, we are looking at the office and ministry of those who shepherd the flock of Christ in their capacity as anointed one's of God. We also celebrate today, the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle Peter, and we use this occasion to renew our submission to the Magisterium or Teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, extended both to truths which are Solemnly defined Ex Cathedra, and to all the acts of the ordinary Magisterium. By celebrating the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter we honour the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. It is the rightful duty of all Christians to pray for those who are in leadership roles, especially for those who head the church. The imagery of a shepherd comes into focus. We realize that those who are called to pastor the flock of the Lord Jesus are to reflect the ministry (service) of the Good Shepherd.


THE TEACHING AUTHORITY OF THE CHAIR OF PETER: In today's Gospel pericope, we see that Peter impressed Christ by a quantum leap of theological grasp on the divinity of Christ (Christology), at a time when the pagan worldview was permeated by reincarnation theories and the practice of ancestral worship. When Peter said: 'You are Christ the Son of the living God', Jesus replied: 'You are a blessed man because no human agency revealed this to you'. And finally, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (Mt. 16:18). This points to some elements of infallibility conferred on the Pope when he teaches Ex Cathedra ('on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it') and the power of the keys ('Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven' ). This special conferment of grace on the Church's leadership was to be for eternity ('I will be with you till the end of time').


St. Peter in the First Reading addresses his fellow ministers (elders, presbyters, priests) and servants. He wants them to fulfill their duties as leaders with a spirit of willingness, enthusiasm, and servitude. Even at this early point in the history of the church, it seems that some of the leaders have been unfaithful in living out their positions as leaders, others are reluctant and probably complaining, others are doing only the minimal of what is required of them, others are using their office for their own benefit, and still others are acting like dictators in ordering the people under their charge. Peter reminds them that they will have to answer to the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus. Those who have fulfilled their calling as good pastors (shepherds) will enjoy the heavenly reward in store for them.


As we have heard, the gates of hell (enemies of the house of God) has continued to strike terror but shall not prevail. Their weapons of attack have been through: humanism, liberalism, materialism, corruption, immorality, excess dogmatism, pastoral dictatorship, etc. We must watch over the flock of Christ with exemplary humility and detachment - not for sordid money. When we see these negative signs among the leadership, we cannot but pray in trepidation. But we will continue to believe in Christ's words: 'On this rock I will build my Church'.


Let us pray that the Pope might serve the flock of Jesus as God would have him do. Let us keep praying for the grace of God on his shepherds so they can withstand both internal and external frictions battling his Church today through the leadership. In truth we need to be grateful to God for the way the Pope have tried to be the “Servant of the Servants of God.” May Jesus – the Chief Shepherd – give to the present Pope Francis the unfading crown of glory when he meets the Lord Jesus. And

may his successors also serve the flock of God with enthusiasm, love, and inspiration.


May God bless you today!

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