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Saint Peter’s Chair (Feast)


Saint Peter’s Chair (Feast)

1 Peter 5:1-4
Matthew 16:13-19


Dearly beloved in Christ, The Chair of Peter is also known as the Cathedra Petri (Latin, “Chair of Peter”), located in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica. It is in the back of the chamber, behind the famous altar, on the far, back wall, below the well-known, stained glass image depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove This display contains an ancient chair that has been repaired and ornamented over time.

Thus, the Chair of Saint Peter shows us that;
-Christ is the Head of the Church.
-Peter and his successors are the Vicar of Christ.
-the chair is the highest authority and principal office in the Church that was established by Christ Himself.
-It is the sign of Peter’s Confession of Faith in Jesus Christ.
-the sign of humility and service to God and humanity.

Symbol of Love and trust in God’s Providence towards mankind
A sign of obedience and loyalty to God and His Church.
-It is a symbol of unity and oneness under the papacy
-It represents the universality of the Church whose head is not based on cultural background but on faith in Jesus Christ.

The scriptural readings of today offer spiritual insights into this feast; The first reading introduces the idea of the leaders of God’s people as spiritual shepherds under Christ who is the Chief Shepherd. Although Peter is below Christ as his under-shepherd (John 21:15-17), he does not direct attention to himself.

Instead, he extends the office of shepherd to the leaders in his audience, revealing to them the way that they are to serve the portions of Christ’s flock entrusted to their care–not by lording it over them (“domineering over those in your charge”) but by serving in a truly spiritual manner (“being examples to the flock”).

The first reading thus serves as instruction in the first place for those who are ordained ministers in Christ’s Church but in an extended way, it serves as instruction for all of us, for we all influence others and should set the same good example. The psalm of the day reechoes the theme of shepherding and it focuses on our relationship between God as the ultimate shepherd of our souls and we as the individual members of his flock. The Lord is MY SHEPHERD…(I shall lack nothing).

From the gospel passage taken from the sixteenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus declares Peter the rock on which he will build his Church, and the gates of the underworld cannot hold out against it. It is God’s initiative to grant mankind a share in his divine authority over His people.

What is the importance of the Chair of St. Peter especially for us Catholics today? With this great confession of faith by Simon in today’s gospel passage, Christ declares and commissions Simon as Peter (Rock) making him to be him the first Pope and His Vicar, and from the prophetic pronouncement of Christ, the Church has enjoyed the grace of an unbroken chain of Apostolic succession through the action of the Holy Spirit.

The Magisterium of the Church-I.e. The Vicar of Christ(Successor of St. Peter) together with the college of bishops is the governing, teaching, and sanctifying office of the Church, and through her the power of salvation through Jesus Christ is being exercised daily and at every moment of the world today until the end of time.

Although the pope’s infallible pronouncements are called ex-cathedra (Latin, “from the chair”) statements, he does not have to be sitting in the physical chair.

He simply has to use the fullness of his authority as the successor of Peter to definitively teach a particular matter about faith or morals. This use of the full extent of his teaching authority is referred to figuratively, as him speaking “from the chair” of St. Peter.
It’s a figurative expression, not a reference to the physical object per se.

According to Pope Benedict XVI in his General Audience on February 22, 2006, on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter,

“Celebrating the “Chair” of Peter, therefore, as we are doing today, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation…”

It means therefore, that since all have us have been baptized in Christ, we share in the divine life and authority of Jesus-as priests, kings, and prophets (adopted sons and daughters of God’s kingdom), we too are called to be good examples of leadership and followers as well. So what are you doing with the keys God has given to you?

The baptism you have received has the power to save you now. Are you carrying out your responsibilities as God has commanded you to? Are you leading people along the path of salvation given by Christ to the Church or are you using it to carry out your agenda? Christ is the good Shepherd we must therefore, be good sheep and good shepherds in our places of duties and responsibilities by listening to Him and following Him John 10: 27.

Rather than focus on our strength and capacity as co-workers building God’s kingdom, let us keep our minds on what Jesus emphatically says today I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH…He will build His Church, we are just clay in the hand of the Potter. Christ is our head.


Give us your grace to follow you! Abundance of grace to follow you! Give us your grace to follow. Your grace is enough for us. Amen.

Fr Joseph Osho

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