February 22, 2017 – Wednesday in the 7th Week of the Church Year

 

Today’s Feast: Chair of St. Peter

Scripture Readings for today’s feast:

1 Peter 5:1-4    –   Psalm 23    –    Matthew 16:13-19

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church: the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Today’s ‘Alleluia Verse’ before the reading of the Holy Gospel – Matthew 16:18)

 Today’s celebration – the Chair of St. Peter – commemorates Christ’s choosing Peter to sit in His place as the servant authority of the whole Church. Be sure to follow the ‘link’ above to know more about today’s feast.

 I’m sure that there are many – even some within the Church – who find it odd that we “celebrate” something as inanimate as a “chair!” Yet, even in our “corporate world” we refer to the head of a business as “the chair” of this or that company.   St. Peter, a simple fisherman, and one who said – when pushed to the wall – “I don’t know the man you’re talking about!” (Matthew 26:70 ff) has to remember what Jesus said to him some times back, “You are ‘Rock’ and upon you I will build my church!” (Matthew 16:18)   If we were going to produce a “contemporary gospel” we’d probably refer to him as “Rocky” so that readers would be more able to realize that saints start out as rough-cut gems with all kinds of imperfections. Peter certainly fits the bill in this sense.   In today’s Holy Gospel we have to be careful not to simply read it as an historical story – that only applied to the disciples – but see those words addressed to each of us: “But YOU who do YOU say that I am?” (Mathew 16:15 )   The saving factor in this – for all of us just like it was for the Apostles – is that we only gradually get to the point of awareness over time and by staying close to Jesus.   Today’s Feast is different from most of saint’s feasts in that it’s not focused on just one person. The fact that power came to the apostles while they were hiding in the locked upper room out of fear points this out. And, when the Resurrected Jesus appeared to them His perfect love cast out all their fear and allowed the Holy Spirit to “re-create” them and give them the ability to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)   When we try to translate this into how it applies to our own lives we have to be careful not to think that the Apostles were instantaneously changed into walking saints. Yes! The power of God was upon them but they still had to walk on rough ground and gradually come to that deep awareness and belief in Jesus. That’s why I love to use the name, “Rocky” since it keeps us well grounded as we struggle to be all that God wants us to be. All of us are precious jewels but not all together ready to be set in the crown. So this might be our song for today: “From glory to glory He’s changing me from earthly things to the heavenly…”  Thank you, St. Rocky!

 

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