Friday: 22 February, 2013 –– First Week in Lent
The Chair of St Peter the Apostle
1 Peter 5:1–4 / Matthew 16:13–19
A Reason to Believe
Every week we come to church. Some of us make daily Communion a high priority. During Lent we make efforts to reorder our lives in some way that is less than easy and convenient.
We find ourselves marching out of step with the world around us. Conventional wisdom doesn’t seem so wise and we wonder how popular opinion too often bypasses common sense.
When we seek to order our lives by Christian Faith we do a radical thing in the eyes of the world. Only faith takes seriously what Peter calls a share in the glory to be revealed.
The world looks at all the problems –– and there are plenty. None of us who profess Christ lives up to the glory of his Name, and some who profess Christ bring shame and dishonor to his Name. The world hears us talking about holiness and morality and too often actually sees too little of either.
We all need to remember there really is a reason to believe. Not only do we have the incredibly Good News that the Son of God became one of us, died for our sins, and rose again to open the door for our own eternal life.... We also have the witness of the Church –– 2000 years of unbroken succession, preserving and passing on in continuity the eye-witness account that was established as the Apostolic Rule of Faith.
Around 2000 years ago Jesus said to Simon, you are Peter –– Cephas, the rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church.... I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
For 2000 years the powers of hell and those who serve them have made war on the Church of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the outward witness of the Church has been weak, but there has always been a faithful witness. For 2000 years the Chair of Peter has been the symbol of apostolic authority fulfilling all that Jesus had progressively, but still explicitly, given to this “chief of the apostles.” Flowing out of that, the cathedra (chair) for each bishop is a symbol of the teaching authority which comes from the Chair of Peter. This was a major factor in my decision to become Catholic.
We are here today in continuity with what Jesus said to Peter on that day when he saw so clearly: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And we keep walking in faith, holding on to the promise Peter wrote so long ago: When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
The world may not understand, but we have a reason to believe.