Chair of Saint Peter
Early Roman Christians celebrated on this day a feast in honour of their departed loved ones, including their predecessors in the faith, Peter and Paul. In the 4th century, when the feast of these two saints was moved to June 29th, the emphasis of this day shifted to celebrating Peter and his successors as bishops of Rome, and expressing gratitude for their service. “The ‘cathedra’ is literally the seat of the bishop,” Pope Benedict XVI said on this day in 2006, “It is the symbol of his authority and, particularly, of his ‘Magisterium,’ as successor to the Apostles. To celebrate the ‘Chair’ of Peter means, giving it a strong spiritual significance, and recognizing therein a privileged sign of the love of God.”
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church… Matthew 16:18
One late Sunday afternoon, I was surprised to look out a window and see a stranger dropping off my teen son with his bike, a towel wrapped around his arm. Riding with friends, he’d had a fall, and the brother of one of the friends came and got him. He stood in the bathroom and gingerly unwrapped the towel. I had peroxide and bandages ready, but I took one quick look at the gaping wound on his elbow and said, “This is too much for me. We’re going to the ER.” And I was right. The wound ended up being rather complex, and closing it required stitches. An orthopedist on call made sure no grit had gotten to the bone or tendon level. It was, indeed, too much for me. So it is with faith and all of its mysteries. I am graced to be created in God’s image with the freedom to be in communion with the Lord. But I can’t answer all the questions. I can’t fix all the wounds. I’m just a small part of this Church built on the rock—and I need it. St. Peter, pray for us.