22 February 2013
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
– Mr. Jacob Boddicker, S.J
Considering the recent events surrounding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, it is a true blessing to celebrate this feast. The apostolic succession is a beautiful gift to the Church, and today we have a chance to reflect upon this gift and to pray not only for our current Successor of Peter, but also for the man who-though currently unknown-will succeed him.
It should not surprise us at all that Peter, in his first letter, uses the image of a shepherd and sheep to describe how an elder ought to minister to his people. After all, quite possibly the most poignant and meaningful moment in the life of that First Pope occurred on the seashore, after the Resurrection, when Jesus charged him to feed His sheep and tend His lambs. Ever since that blessed encounter we have seen countless examples of men called to follow in Peter’s footsteps; perhaps the most meaningful sign of this is the tradition of bishops bearing a crosier, symbolizing their role as a shepherd of Christ’s flock.
We should, especially in this age when so much is uncertain, when everything can change or collapse in an instant, derive great comfort from Christ’s promise that the Church is not built on sand but on a rock-solid foundation, and the gates of Hell will never prevail against it. Come what may, the Church will never fail; we have Christ’s word. Encouraged by this, let us live our Christian lives boldly and use Lent as an opportunity to grow in our love for the Church, praying constantly for those who lead her in a world that seems to be tearing itself apart.