Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah

"Your are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" - Matthew 16
I love Simon Peter; so many all-too human qualities in the first Pope. Peter was the head of the Apostles, and the first to recognize who and what Christ was. As we read in today's Gospel, he became Cephas , the Rock upon which Christ would build His Church.

Simon Peter also made a blithering fool of himself trying to pitch tents when Jesus was transfigured in His glory with Moses and Elijah. He also lost faith is Jesus's power to sustain him, as he walked towards Him on the water. Finally, he ran from his Master and denied their friendship at the first whiff of trouble. Worse, Peter did so after blustering about his loyalty during dinner.

This gives me comfort, that Peter and those who followed - some saints, some scoundrels - up to and including the Holy Father Benedict XVI, are sinning, fallible men. I read somewhere that John Paul II had his own confessor he went to on a weekly basis, knowing his own sinning nature well enough to sacramentally confess to God regularly, setting an example for us all.

St. Peter, like all the Popes who followed, was a man. Not impeccable, not perfect. Just a man, with a very important task - to help ensure Christ's promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. Those gates have been tested and tried over the centuries, by Schism, Reformations, Counter Reformations, and Scandal. The gates stand strong. The promise remains fulfilled.

Thank you Simon bar Jonah...for being the Man you are.

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
Daily Mass Readings
1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalm 123:1-6
Matthew 16:13-19

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