It is 22nd February 2019. We celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, the Apostle. It is the commemoration of the highly responsible office entrusted by Christ to St. Peter as the Vicar of Christ, and the succession that continues until today. It emphasizes the unity and the succession of the apostolic foundation of the Church reinforcing the teaching office (Magisterium) of the Roman Pontiff as truth solemnly declared ex cathedra and the acts of the ordinary Magisterium. The feast encourages us to show the respect due to all the Popes and more specially to the present Pope as the Vicar of Christ that he could continue to lead the Church after the example of St. Peter, the Apostle and the maiden Vicar of Christ. The readings are from 1 Peter 5:1-4; and the Gospel Matthew 16:13-19. How much love and respect do we have towards our elders of the Church, the priests and the leaders of the Church? They not only deserve our respect but also the timely appreciation that enables them to continue their works with enthusiasm. The readings invite the leaders to be the witnesses for the love of Christ and to be the models of faith and sacrifices. The leaders need to represent Christ in their behaviour not replacing Him. We are invited to serve God and people with willingness and generosity of heart not as a work that pays us some material reward. Our faithfulness to Christ must be seen in our ministries and teachings. The leaders ought to avoid being faithful to anything or anyone other than Christ and the Church. Whenever the leaders begin to show their first preference in serving and spending time and resources with someone or something other than Christ and Church, the respect and love from the faithful diminishes gradually. No leader is forced to lead God’s people and serve the Church. Every leader who is called to serve has to emulate the Lord and to be true shepherd after the example of Jesus. Every leader who wishes to lead the other need to put on the clothes of humility and having the character of charity. “The Lord says to Simon Peter, I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk.22:32). The first reading promises the leaders of the Church that they will be crowned by Christ for being the faithful Shepherd, the example and model to all faithful, and for their humble service to humanity. The responsorial Psalm praises, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps.22:1). The Gospel shows the appointment of St. Peter as the Vicar of Christ as he emerged always as a spokesperson of the other Apostles and demonstrating his unwavering faith in Jesus. The Catechism (CCC 553) teaches us, Jesus entrusted a specific authority to St. Peter: “The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.” Our respect towards the Pontiff is the expressed unity of our hearts. May we continue to follow the guidance and counsel of our leaders to come closer to Christ and the Church. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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