“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

This Feast of the Chair of St. Peter brings us Simon’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Mt 16:13-19).  What leads up to this is Jesus asking His disciples what they have heard about who He is.  They give a variety of answers.  When Jesus asks the same of the disciples, Simon speaks up.  His correct answer (revealed to him by the Father) leads Jesus to say the words at top, giving Simon a new name.  He is also entrusted the keys to heaven, with the power to bind and loose sins.  This is a particularly poignant feast day considering the current pope will renounce the chair of Peter in less than a week.  What a wonderful gift the papacy has been, especially in recent years.  An authoritative voice, safeguarded by the promise of the Holy Spirit to be infallible in teachings on faith and morals, means we never have to be without an earthly shepherd who guides us in truth.  Great deference must be given to his teachings, as he assumes a unique position for Catholics (and, frankly, as a moral leader to the world).  Because of his awesome responsibilities it is very important to pray for the reigning Holy Father and, especially now with this unusual transition about to take place, the cardinal electors who are soon to choose his successor.  May God bless Pope Benedict in his remaining days as pope and on earth and may the Spirit of truth completely possess his successor.

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