22 February 2018 Thursday of the First Week of Lent and the Feast of the Chair of St Peter
1 Peter 5:1-4, Psalms 23, Matthew 16:13-19
1 Peter 5:1-3 – “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.”
Matthew 16:14-19 – 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 hell 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.”
Organisations develop and thrive under enlightened leadership and through the hard work of dedicated members. The Church is not different. She has rendered amazing service to human society, starting with just twelve members, because at every period of history, she has had committed and perceptive leaders to guide her, always, under the main leader, God, the Holy Spirit.
Today, Peter asks his fellow Church-workers, to fulfil their duty with joy, not out of compulsion or for any material advantage. He himself was entrusted with the mission of guiding and caring for the destinies of the early Christian community, in spite of his limitations. One of his great distinctions was that he was the first to confess, before his brethren, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, this is the source and ground of the whole operation. Many others had seen in Jesus a gifted prophet. But God reveals His Son to those whom He chooses.
Those who are open to God’s ways, not only recognise Him for what He really is but become eager to take His message to the ends of the earth. They listen for His voice! And this is the end result of our Lenten penances, to become those lights in our world, to become those Catholics who truly resemble their Founder, those Catholics who pray, who love, who live charity and thus, by their lives, they preach the Good News to all who meet them! ArchBishop Thomas Menamparampil SCB
Hearing the Voice of God: A man practised in woodcraft, out of a babel of sounds in a tropical forest, will recognise any one. He may hear the calls of a hundred, a thousand, different species of birds, squawking, hooting, whistling, singing but he says, “There! Listen to the note of such and such a bird.” The novice strains his ears but cannot catch the particular sound. “I listen,” says he, “but I cannot recognise it. How can you know it?” And the master says, “I could tell that note if every leaf on every tree had a different voice and all were speaking. I could tell that note in the midst of any tumult.”
So, the man who knows the voice of God, hears it anywhere – in the midst of crowded streets, at an entertainment, on a battle field, in his soul, even when temptation is making pandemonium within. He can recognise the voice of God anywhere…– Father James M Gillis – A Thought a Day for Lent, by Father James M Gillis, C.S.P
O Jesus, living in Mary
By Fr Jean-Jacques Olier, S.S. (1608-1657)
O Jesus, living in Mary,
Come and live in Your servants,
In the spirit of Your sanctity,
In the fullness of Your strength.
In the reality of Your virtues.
In the perfection of Your ways.
In the communion of Your mysteries.
Be lord over every opposing power.
In Your own Spirit, to the glory of the Father.
Fr Jean-Jacques Olier (20 September 1608 – 2 April 1657) was a French priest and the founder of the Sulpicians. (Prayer a Day for Lent, compiled from approved sources by Father Albert A Murray, C.S.P.)