READINGS for 2006-02-22
?But who do you say that I am?? ? Matthew 16:15
It was a beautiful day for a retreat. Batulao was the setting and I was with family, and the members of our parish community. The retreat master posed the question, ?Who is Jesus to you?? The fifty or so participants each had to answer. One shouted to the hilltops??my Friend!? Another said with sentiment, ?my Savior?, and another, quite confidently said ? ?my Everything.? I was the second to be asked, and without thought and time I answered, ?my Refuge.? Jesus, my Refuge. Then it hit me.
I was at that point of my life when, just coming out of the ?dark?, I realized indeed, Jesus had been my Refuge. Through raging storms and blazing fire, on rocky ridges and surrounded by deepest pits, the Lord has remained my One Calm, my Solid Ground, and my Everlasting Light. He has never abandoned or forsaken me. He never failed or faltered. In my life and in yours, He has remained. We may have different answers to this question. But we all have one assurance. Whoever you may say that Jesus is to you? that He truly IS! And so much more. Because He is Jesus. Lallaine G.
Lord, thank you for who you are! Continue to reveal to me Your many wonders. Amen.
Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. As we reflect upon the gift of the papacy to the Church, let us be thankful for the leadership that we are given through it. Let us also pray for our pope that he will be a man who has the heart of a shepherd for the Church in imitation of Jesus. It cannot be easy to lead the Church ? I am sure the pope needs as many prayers as he can get.
1 So 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. 2 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. 3 Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
P S A L M
Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6
R: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1 The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures He gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3 he refreshes my soul. (R) 4 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) 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) 6 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)
G O S P E L
It is important to build on a firm foundation. The bigger the building, the stronger the foundation needs to be. The Church is a huge institution built on the foundation stone of Jesus Christ. However, His representative here on earth is a person like any one of us. He is prone to sin and will have to struggle to grow in holiness. Let us pray for him that the grace he needs to fulfill his duties will be given to him.
13 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, ?Who do people say that the Son of Man is?? 14 They replied, ?Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.? 15 He said to them, ?But who do you say that I am?? 16 Simon Peter said in reply, ?You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.? 17 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.? 18 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 notprevail against it. 19 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.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________
thank You Lord for: ______________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 28-30
The feast today is rather strange. We celebrate a chair? Today?s liturgy is called the ?Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.? The feast is as strange as the choice made as to who first sat on that ?chair.?
The first to sit on the chair we give honor today is Peter, an uneducated fisherman from Bethsaida. He was an unlikely choice for a president of a country or a chairman of the board for a global organization. But he was God?s choice to be the prince of the apostles and the visible head of the Church. Such choice was easily evident to Jesus as Jesus Himself said after Peter?s declaration of faith, ?Blest are you, Simon son of Jonah, because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.? Thus, Jesus conferred on Peter, ?You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.And the gates of hell can never hold out against it?.?
Peter was God?s choice. And God?s choices are often strange to us who are rather more familiar with the ways of the world. But the chair of Peter is not Peter?s chair. It is God?s chair on which He made Peter sit. What is this chair all about? The chair is symbolic of two things. On the one hand, dialogue. On the other, pedagogy. We sit to discuss. We also sit to teach.
The Chair of St. Peter symbolizes two of the tasks that Peter and his successors, the popes, have. The pope should be an effective agent towards dialogue and a tireless teacher of the truths of the Kingdom. Sitting on that ?Chair? does not, therefore, in anyway mean lording over the others. In sitting on the Chair of St. Peter is to be the servant of all, a servant of dialogue, a servant of the Truth, a servant of the Lord.
There is a funny story I once was told by a priest from Bukidnon. When Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales became bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, he tried to speak some Cebuano to the local faithful during one of his first Masses. He said, ?Ani-a ako aron maglingkod kaninyo.? For half a second there was silence in the cathedral; then, laughter accompanied by a warm round of applause. The good archbishop spoke in Cebuano but mixed it with the Tagalog word, ?maglingkod.? ?Maglingkod? in Cebuano means ?to sit down.? Thus, when translated the words of the archbishop meant ?I am here to sit down on you.? Certainly, it was not what he wanted to convey. But he served the Diocese of Malaybalay well, even risking his life in the fight against illegal logging.
A chair is such a strange symbol of service. But perhaps not, if we think of service as the real meaning of being chosen by God to occupy His seat. Fr. Bobby T.
Make my throne, O Lord, Your heart. May I be Your heart today and always. Amen.
St. Margaret of Cortona, penitent, pray for us.
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