Mass Reading & Meditation for February 22, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 16:13-19
The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16)
Sometimes a little inside information makes a big difference. Say you give your neighbor a friendly hello but get a frown in return. You’re miffed. Until you learn that the neighbor’s child has fallen critically ill. Doesn’t that change everything? Your heart swells with compassion, and you want to reach out—with prayer, encouragement, practical help … something! One piece of information has opened your eyes to a reality you hadn’t been able to see.
Something similar happened to Peter at Caesarea Philippi. And it was an awesome piece of inside information: Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God”! What’s more, the source of that information was even more awesome: it did not come from “flesh and blood” but from the Father himself (16:17).
Over time, this divine insight into Jesus’ hidden identity changed everything for Peter. His understanding of God, his relationships, worldview, his way of life—nothing would ever be the same. Neither would Peter’s view of himself. For on that same occasion, Jesus revealed another piece of inside information: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). From the earliest times, the Church has celebrated his choice as head shepherd of the flock in the feast of the Chair of St. Peter.
God didn’t want this revelation to Peter to remain a secret between the two of them. No, he meant it to be shared always, with everyone, to the ends of the earth. And so, through the ministry of Peter and his successors, this good news has come down to us. And it comes in a personal way, for here is Jesus, asking each of us, “Who do you say that I am? Do you take me as Lord of your life?”
One more thing. It’s not just Peter who needed insight into what God had created him to do and be. At every step of the way, we also need that revelation, guidance, and encouragement. So don’t be afraid to ask Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” His answer will transform your life too.
“Jesus, I confess that you are the Lord! May every part of me bear witness to this truth.”
1 Peter 5:1-4; Psalm 23:1-6