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Parish Daily Update 2/21/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Lent is precisely the season of hope when we turn our gaze back to the God who is patient.  Saint Paul passionately urges us to place our hope in reconciliation:  ‘Be reconciled to God.’   (2 Cor. 5:20)” 

~Pope Francis

A link to today’s Mass can be found here:    https://youtu.be/nv-GCKIqRN0

Enjoy your week!

God bless,

Pam

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle  

February 22nd 

First Monday in Lent 

First Reading:  1 Peter 5:1-4 

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6 

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 

Gospel:  Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  

Homily 

[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Matthew 16:13-19 

When you put your ego ahead of the good of all, when your need to control becomes more important than the success of the community or company: Who do you say that I am? 

When that obnoxious, self-righteous, perpetually complaining bore in the office has pushed you to the edge: Who do you say that I am? 

When a quick financial killing can be made — if you’re willing to put your ethics on hold: Who do you say that I am? 

When your son or daughter needs help with a project but you need to go shopping or want to get out and play a round of golf: Who do you say that I am? 

When yet another appeal is made on your time or your wallet on behalf of those in need or in trouble: Who do you say that I am? 

The question Jesus asks Peter and the disciples in today’s Gospel is asked of us every minute of every day. Every decision we make is ultimately a response to Jesus’ question Who do you say that I am? Our love for family and friends, our dedication to the cause of justice, our commitment to the highest ethical and moral standards, our taking the first step toward reconciliation and forgiveness, our simplest acts of kindness and charity all declare most accurately and effectively our belief in the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah and Redeemer. 

On this Lenten Monday, we remember Peter’s confession of faith. Peter is the first of Jesus’ followers to acknowledge him as the Messiah – and it is on that faith that Jesus establishes his church of peace, reconciliation and justice. To share Peter’s faith in the Gospel Jesus is to articulate clearly and without equivocation the question Jesus asks of all of us: Who do you say that I am? 

Jesus, give us the simple but profound faith of Peter the fisherman. May we possess his resolve to be worthy of your call to be your disciples; may we share his determination to build your church here in our time and place; may we embrace his perseverance to proclaim your presence in every moment you give us, in every decision that confronts us, in every relationship with which we are blessed.   

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen.       

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter 

February 22—Feast

                It’s kind of funny to have a feast day for a chair. When we think of a chair, perhaps we think of a soft recliner into which our body lowers itself as if into a warm bath. Or our mind turns to a classroom chair, a chair in a waiting room, or one at a restaurant. But the chair the Church commemorates today is more like the heroic-sized marble chair which holds the giant body of President Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. We commemorate today a chair like the judge’s in a courtroom or that unique high-backed chair called a throne. These are not ordinary chairs. They are seats of authority and judgment. They hold power more than people. We stand before them while their occupants sit. Judges and kings retire or die, but chairs and thrones remain to hold their successors. The Nicene Creed even describes Jesus as “seated” at God’s right hand. The fuller, symbolic meaning of the word “chair” is what today’s feast commemorates.  

Against the farthest wall of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome is not a statue of Saint Peter, as one might imagine, but a gorgeous heroic-sized sculpture with a chair as its focus. To celebrate the Chair of St. Peter is to celebrate the unity of the Church. The chair is a symbol of Saint Peter’s authority, and that authority is not meant for conquest like military power. Ecclesiastical authority is directed toward unity. Jesus Christ could have gathered an unorganized group of disciples united only by their common love of Him. He didn’t. He could have written the Bible Himself, handed it to His followers, and said, “Obey this text.” He didn’t. Jesus called to Himself, by name, twelve men. He endowed them with the same powers He possessed and left this organized band of brothers as an identifiable, priestly fraternity specifically commissioned to baptize and to preach. In North Africa at the time of Saint Augustine, twelve co-consecrating bishops were canonically required at the ordination of a bishop, mirroring “The Twelve” called by Christ. What a profound liturgical custom! Today the Church requires only three co-consecrators.  

What is even more striking about Christ’s establishment of an orderly Church structure is its double organizing principle. The Twelve’s headship over the many is itself subjected to the internal headship of Saint Peter. He is the keeper of the keys, the rock upon which the Lord built His Church. This all makes sense. What good would a constitution be without a Supreme Court to adjudicate disputes over its interpretation? Any authoritative text needs a living organ to stand outside and above it to arbitrate, interpret, and define, with authority equal to the text itself, any and all misinterpretations, confusions, or honest disputes. Just as a constitution needs a court, the Bible needs a Magisterium. And that Magisterium needs a head as well.  

The authority of the papal office, doctrinally, is a negative charism preserving the Church from teaching error. It is not a guarantee that the pope will teach, explain, or live the faith perfectly. Christ himself guaranteed that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. That’s a negative promise. But isn’t this promise also a prophecy that the Church, and the office of Peter, will be a lightning rod absorbing every strike from the forces of evil? That this Church, and no other, will be the target of the darkest of powers? A real Church has real enemies.  

There was never an office of Saint Paul in the Church. When the person of Paul disappeared, his specific role did too. But the office of Peter continues, along with the office of all the Apostles, despite their deaths. In other words, the Church has not just a foundation but a structure built on that foundation. And authority in that structure is not transmitted personally, from father to son or from one family to the next. Authority attaches to the Office of St. Peter and endows its occupant with the charisms promised by Christ to Saint Peter. And this charism will endure until the sun sets for the last time.  As long as there is a Church, it will teach objective truth, and objective truth requires objective leadership. And that objective leadership, symbolized in the Chair of St. Peter, is directed toward unity. One Lord. One faith. One Shepherd. One flock. The united fabric of the Church, so fought for, so torn, so necessary, is worth honoring in the liturgy of the Church.