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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 16, 13-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of man is?'

And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'

'But you,' he said, 'who do you say I am?'

Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'

Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man! Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.

So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s feast of the Chair of St. Peter reminds us of an ancient tradition, namely that the episcopacy of Peter in Rome was initiated exactly on February 22. The Liturgy invites us to commemorate and to celebrate the “mystery of Peter.” On the one hand, it emphasizes the apostolic foundation of the Church of Rome, and on the other, the service of presiding in charity, that is, a unique charism that continues to live in the successors of Peter. The Gospel that we heard recalls three symbols: the rock, the keys and the binding and loosing, and thus demonstrates that the charism of Peter is a ministry of building the entire elect of God. We know very well how beneficial this ministry, of unity that the Bishop of Rome is called upon to exercise, is for the Church, especially today. In a globalized world, with strong pressures of self-reference and fragmentation, the Pope represents a unique treasure to be guarded, protected and shown not in the powerful ways of this world but as a service of love for all, especially for the weak. In fact, the primacy is not born of “flesh and blood,” nor is it a question of human and personal qualities; it is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, as is clear in the Gospel text. The witness of Pope Francis is particularly eloquent in this time of disorientation and uncertainty. Jesus himself pointed to the rock when he gathered his disciples in a place apart. He asked them what the people thought of him, not out of curiosity which could be legitimate. Jesus knew that the expectation of a Messiah was very alive and was mistakenly understood as someone politically and militarily strong, one who was to free the people of Israel from the slavery of the Romans. But this was totally different from his mission which was, instead, radical liberation from slavery to sin and evil. After the first answers to his question, Jesus goes directly to the heart of his disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” He needs his disciples to be in harmony with him, to have a common feeling. Peter speaks and, answering for all of them, confesses his faith. He immediately receives a blessing. Peter, and with him that modest group of disciples, is part of those “little ones” to whom the Father reveals things hidden from the foundation of the world. And Simon, a man like all men, made of “flesh and blood,” on encountering Jesus, receives a new vocation, a new task, a new commitment: to be a rock, that is support for many others, with power to bind new friendships and to loosen so many ties of slavery.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday