Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A
The words with which a great Bishop and orator, Bossuet, began the funeral oration of a great king, are well remembered in history: “God alone is great.”
This is true in the absolute sense of the word.
We are all insignificant, because any greatness which we can possess, is not ours but comes from God.
There is, in the world, however, one man in whom the greatness of God is reflected, in the most outstanding way of all.
He participates in the authority and, in a certain sense, in the personality of Christ.
This man is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.
It is necessary, to think deeply about certain words of our Redeemer, which the protestants and schismatics of every age seem to be anxious to forget.
These words were addressed to Peter and through him, to all his successors in the Church, which was destined to last till the end of time (Mt 29:20). “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and, whatever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven and whatever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Mt 16:19-19). And again: “Feed my lambs … Feed my lambs … Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).
These words need to be thought about rather than explained.
The Church is compared to a building which must rest upon one foundation stone – the Pope.
The Church is compared to a flock, which has only one shepherd – the Pope.
To him, is entrusted the divine power of binding and loosing upon earth.
This power, is granted to him personally.
It is given to the other Apostles, only as a group, united to him.