Tu es Petrus

Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle. If you go to the far back of St. Peter's Basilica, under the famous glass window of the Holy Spirit, you can find the Chair descending from Heaven adorned by angels, patriarchs, and bishops, and a plume of clouds carved in bronze by Bernini. It's quite impressive and thoroughly Baroque.

We are not, of course, honoring that chair suspended from the wall by brackets and screws. We are honoring what the chair represents: the Petrine Office, the Holy See, the mission, burden, and privelege of those who walk in the Shoes of the Fisherman. This is no light matter, as the architecture in the Basilica suggests. The world- nay, heaven itself- hangs suspended on the keys of St. Peter-- the authority given to Simon Peter by Christ to bind and loose.

"Tu es Petrus!" Jesus says in Matthew's Gospel.

What we find in Matthew 16 is the story of a humble fisherman elevated to a status he clearly did not comprehend or seemingly deserve. Even this is not remarkable within the history of the Church, but it confounds many who reflect on Scripture that so short-sighted, blundering, and impulsive a man would be ordained the Vicar of Christ and given all authority in Heaven and Earth. And yet Pentecost reveals the true nature of Simon Peter...the true nature of us all. Christ sees with a wisdom we cannot attain, merely learn in awe. Even those tangled in sin have the opportunity through Christ to be extraordinary!

No comments:

Blog Archive