The Chair of St. Peter | iPray with the Gospel
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’”
Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St Peter which is not merely about a piece of furniture. The seat of the bishop is the Chair or “cathedra”. It signifies the authority of Peter. In the apse of the Basilica of St Peter you can see the chair, a bronze sculpture of Bernini. On top of it you see the Dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit who inspires the Pope.
Why did Jesus choose Peter? Only He knows. God didn’t choose a wise man who knew the Scriptures and who could write; Peter probably couldn’t. He didn’t choose a man of easy speech who could be persuasive when preaching the Gospel. He didn’t choose a man with influence, a rich man, a politician…
Jesus needed a strong man, a rock on which to build His Church. A rock that serves as a foundation doesn’t need to be beautiful; just strong. Peter wasn’t perfect when Jesus chose him, but his faith and love would become strong enough to make the Church stand firm. Over the centuries many strong empires have fought against this Rock. They disappeared but the Church still remains. Whoever fights against this Rock “shall not prevail.”
Holy Mary, our hope, Queen of the Apostles and Mother of the Church, pray for us!
This article originally appeared on www.ipraywiththegospel.org. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © George Boronat.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).