Today is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”
Gospel of Matthew 16:18
Saint Peter’s chair
This feast has been celebrated in Rome since at least the fourth century. It signifies the unity of the Church founded upon the Apostles.
Enshrined in the beautiful Bernini reliquary in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the relic of the actual Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, venerated because it was from that very chair that the first Pope, the Vicar of Christ, imparted the Christian faith which was entrusted to him by Jesus Christ, and which has been passed on for 2,000 years through the Catholic bishops, and will continue until Christ returns.
The Chair of St. Peter is a symbol of the authority and primacy of the first Bishop of Rome, and, through communion with the Roman Pontiff and his successors, the unity of the Universal Church.
The feast day of the Chair of St. Peter is celebrated on February 22nd.
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Upon this Rock
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today’s feast commemorates the teaching authority of the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium of the Church. In the Gospel, Christ asks Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” “It is a clear and direct question,” Pope Francis said, “in the face of which it is not possible to flee or remain neutral, or to send the answer or delegate it to someone else. However, there is nothing inquisitorial in it, rather, it is full of love!—love of our only Teacher, who calls us to renew our faith in him, recognizing him as Son of God and Lord of our life. And the first called to renew his profession of faith is the Successor of Peter, who bears in himself the responsibility to confirm his brothers.”
from MAGNIFICAT, Monday, Feb 22, 2021
Peter, I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.”
cf. Gospel of Luke 22:32
Saint Peter, Apostle, rock of the church, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.