MCCA

Chair of Saint Peter

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter celebrates the papacy and St. Peter as the first bishop of Rome. St. Peter's original name was Simon. He was married with children and was living and working in Capernaum as a fisherman when Jesus called him to be one of the Twelve Apostles.

Jesus bestowed to Peter a special place among the Apostles. He was one of the three who were with Christ on special occasions, such as the Transfiguration of Christ and the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemani. He was the only Apostle to whom Christ appeared on the first day after the Resurrection. Peter, in turn, often spoke on behalf of the Apostles.

When Jesus asked the Apostles: "Whom do men say that the Son of Man is?

"Simon replied: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

And Jesus said: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to you: That you are Peter [Cephas, a rock], and upon this rock [Cephas] I will build my Church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven". (Mt 16:13-20)

In saying this Jesus made St. Peter the head of the entire community of believers and placed the spiritual guidance of the faithful in St. Peter’s hands.

However, St. Peter was not without faults. He was rash and reproached often by Christ. He had fallen asleep in the Garden of Gethsemani instead of praying, as Jesus had asked him to do. He also denied knowing Jesus three times after Christ’s arrest.

Peter delivered the first public sermon after the Pentecost and won a large number of converts. He also performed many miracles and defended the freedom of the Apostles to preach the Gospels. He preached in Jerusalem, Judaea, and as far north as Syria.

He was arrested in Jerusalem under Herod Agrippa I, but miraculously escaped execution. He left Jerusalem and eventually went to Rome, where he preached during the last portion of his life. He was crucified there, head downwards, as he had desired to suffer, saying that he did not deserve to die as Christ had died.

The date of St. Peter's death is not clear. Historians estimate he was executed between the years 64 and 68. His remains now rest beneath the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


1 Peter 5:1-4

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.
2 Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly,
3 not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.


Matthew 16:13-19

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


Psalms 23:1-6

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Lord, grant us the graces to know the call to leadership as one of service

Fri 22nd Feb 20196th week in Ordinary Time
Chair of Saint Peter, the Apostle
1 Pt. 5:1-4;Ps. 23(22):1-3a,3b-4,5,6;Mt. 16:13-19   (Ps Wk II)


“Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The opinions expressed on Jesus’ identity are much  divided.  Some suggested him as John the Baptist risen from the dead; others Elijah, the fore-runner to the Messiah and Jeremiah as one of the prophets. Yet Jesus wanted to know what his disciples think about him when he asked them: “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This double recognition by Peter became an  occasion for the ‘Beatitudes’ and ‘new’ name, given to Peter as the Heavenly Father had revealed this truth to him.

In v.19, the metaphors ‘rock’ and then ‘keys’ are referred. In the Old testament, ‘to give the keys’ means to bestow authority. In receiving ‘the keys of the kingdom’, Peter became the steward of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth which is the permanent character of the steward’s work. So stewardship and leadership in the community is based on the kind of fidelity shown by Peter.

In the first reading, Peter spelt out the qualities of a leader.  Being with Jesus from the early days of his ministry, Peter was truly a witness to Jesus’ suffering and Peter bore notable witness to this in his own suffering.

The image of  the ‘shepherd of God’s flock’, ‘as overseers’ and as ‘elders’ refer to that of the leaders of Israel. Peter also cautioned that a leader is not to lord it over others. Pope Francis has often reiterated this in our services in the Church.

On this Feast of the Chair of Peter, Lord, grant us the graces to know the call to leadership as one of service.