22 Feb 2018: Choice of Jesus

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Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Reading 1: Pt. 5: 1-4;  Gospel: Mt. 16: 13-19

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the ‘Chair of St. Peter’. This feast commemorates the choice made by Jesus in choosing St. Peter to be His successor – the rock on which Jesus would build His Church.

On such a great day, as Catholics we ought to be happy and proud that we belong to this original Church founded by Jesus Himself. By tradition, this authority bestowed upon St. Peter has been handed down in time to all His successors. Even today we live under this authority which holds the keys to the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:19).

As we celebrate this wonderful feast, let us ponder over two things.

First, have we realized the magnificence of the (Catholic) Church to which we belong? Are we happy to belong to this Church instituted by Christ Himself? Do we recognize the power given by Christ to His servants – which is today enjoyed by the Pope, Bishops and Priests? It is indeed a source of great sorrow that many Catholics today are being deceived by the evil one into either deserting the Catholic Church or to remain indifferent to the Catholic Church. At those times, we need to remember that we are not merely deserting or rebelling against an institution but in reality we are deserting or rebelling against Christ Himself.

Secondly, this feast reminds us that the choice of Jesus is not strictly restricted to Peter alone. Peter’s real name was Simon. When he was chosen by Jesus to be the foundation for the Church, Simon was given the name ‘Peter’ (which means ‘rock’). Even today Jesus wants to build up His Church in this troubled world. And the rock that He wants to use is ‘you’. Jesus is calling out to you as He once called out to Peter; He wants to bestow upon you the same power that He conferred upon Peter and the other apostles. Are you ready to shoulder this mighty responsibility? Are you ready to proclaim the Gospel by your words and deeds? Are you ready to witness to Christ as Peter did, even to the extent being crucified upside down?

Jesus has already made His choice. Now it is your turn to respond to the Lord. Be the rock that Jesus wants you to be.

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