Memory of the Poor

Share On

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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.'

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The liturgy invites us to commemorate and celebrate the "ministry of Peter." On one hand, it underlines the apostolic foundation of the Church of Rome and on the other, the service of presiding in charity, a unique charism that remains alive in the successors of Peter. Through the three symbols that it names - the rock, the keys, and the power to bind and loose, the Gospel we just heard demonstrates that Peter's charism is a ministry aimed to the entire building of the chosen ones of God. We know how beneficial this ministry of unity is for the Church, a ministry that the bishop of Rome is called to exercise. It is even more beneficial today. In a globalized world, with pressures towards fragmentation, the Pope represents a unique treasure to be guarded, protected, and revealed, not according to the power of this world, but as a service of love for all, especially the weak. This primacy does not spring from "flesh and blood"; it is not a question of personal, human qualities, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. The testimony of Pope Francis is particularly eloquent in this time of disorientation and uncertainty. Jesus himself pointed to the rock when he gathered the disciples in a place a little aside. He asked them what the people thought of him, not out of curiosity. Jesus needs his disciples to be in harmony with him, for them to have his same "feelings.". Peter spoke, answering on behalf of all and on behalf of the Twelve confessed his faith in Jesus. And he received the blessing. This house will be steady and "the gates of Hades will not prevail against it," which, in the Semitic language, are the power of evil which will try to destroy it. Peter is the key to this building. God's house is not closed, it has doors and Peter has its keys. The image has become a popular reference to the kingdom of heaven. The Gospel speaks of the house already here on earth and Peter receives its keys already now, as well as the power "to bind and to loosen." In the rabbinic language these actions refer to the responsibility of the house to weave relationships of fraternity with all. Pope Francis is the man of unity, not only of Christians, but also of religions. He embodies the dream of the Church of the Council, that is to be one family. Let us join in prayer for him, with many believers and poor who look at him as the true friend.