“Being fearlessly faithful to the Lord, the Chief Shepherd Who upholds and strengthens us always!”
(Based on 1 Pet 5:1-4 and and Mt 26:13-19)
A soldier working in the army – who was known for his bravery and never-give-up attitude – was asked by a journalist:
“What is the motivation for you to be so valiant and strong in your service?”
To that, the soldier replied: “Well, we have a saying in our army…
… and I try to follow that.
The saying is this: ‘If someone says, he is not afraid of death…
… then he is either lying
… or he is in the army!’
I have lived in this way of life… living this truth!”
As Christians, we are all soldiers of Christ!
Are we ready to have the courage to face any situation of difficulty, including death…
… and seek to be ever faithful to the Lord and His Church?
Today, we are invited to renew our love and commitment to the Church as we celebrate the Feast of the “See of St Peter” (Chair of St Peter).
This Feast celebrates Christ choosing St Peter to “sit” in authority as the visible leader of the Church on earth.
The Gospel of the Day presents to us the Faith Statement of Peter, the leader of the band of the Apostles and Jesus declaring to him:
“…on this rock, I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it!” (Mt 16:18)
Jesus – the Great Rock entrusts to Peter, the rock and assures Him that the Church will always stay rock-grounded!
The Lord had…
… and still has great Faith and Trust in His Church
But, personally, we need to ask: Am I sometimes doubtful, uncertain and hesitant with respect to the Church?
This Feast is a good opportunity for us to get to some of the Basics of the Church.
The word “Church”….in Greek…is Ekklesia.
Ekklesia can be split to two words… “ek” = out of + “kaleo” = to call
This gives us an important meaning of EKKLESIA – THE CHURCH…. TO BE CALLED OUT OF….
The Church is a body
…to be called out of the world
Into being a Family and Fellowship in God!
The Church is a body…to be called out of materialistic and worldly gains…
And be a sign of hope and salvation!
This gives us a clue to many aspects of the Church
…and which will help our own understanding
The Church is not a mere building…
… the Church is the People of God.
We often reduce the Church – especially in our everyday vocabulary – to a mere building made of stones and cement..
But, we need to realise and remember that the Church is made of living stones (1 Pet 2:5)
… and all of us need to contribute our mite in keeping alive this Church of God.
Do I give my share of talents and gifts to the Church is keeping it effective and relevant for our modern times?
Do I make sacrifices and offer prayers for the Church so that she may stand strong in the midst of struggles?
Do I promote and encourage the teachings of the Church and find beauty and wisdom in them?
Perhaps one reason we find ourselves in a cribbing position, with respect to the Church is because of our failure to understand its nature…
… and also have our own misunderstandings and prejudices.
When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who am I” (Mt 16: 13) he got varied answers…
… some surprising
… some unexpected
The Mystery of Jesus was so great…
… people failed to grasp who actually He was…
The Mystery of the Church is also great…
… that people fail to understand her and even form opposing opinions!
We may feel that the Church is too traditional and too conservative and too authoritarian…
But we fail to see that she has preserved much morals…kept safe human values..and promoted holiness
We may feel that the Church is all too mistaken in many areas and has committed many blunders…
But we ought to know that the Church has a human dimension and despite it, the Spirit of the Lord leads
We may feel that the Church is just too bad with scandals and hypocrites and has lost all credibility…
But we need to realize that the evil one attacks those who strive for sanctity and tries to disrupt God’s plans
The Church undergoes the pain of many a misunderstandings…
… Christ too underwent the same.
The Church suffers the bad name of being called by many names….
… Christ too underwent the same.
From a negative aspect, What is a Hospital?
Diseases, Blood, Pus, Screaming, Pains, Twisted bodies, Suffering..
But from a Positive Aspect, What is a Hospital?
Care, Healing, Love, Solace, Relief, Aid, Selfless Service….
Our Church can be understood in similar tones…
Weaknesses are plenty…
…yet, when seen from a Divine perspective, she is Holy!
All of us are concerned about the growing rejection of Church and Christian values in our society…
But we who are Baptized…and who seek the good of the Church, ought to join our hands and seek to revive the relevance and importance of the Church.
The Church has its weaknesses…
… but the Church needs Powerful Persons… in You and Me!
The Church has its negatives…
… but the Church needs Passionate Lovers of God… in You and Me!
The Church has its flaws…
… but the Church needs Committed Preachers of the Word… in You and Me!
The Body of Christ while hanging on the Cross was weak
… but “No bone of His was broken” (Jn 19:36)
The Church of Christ while living in the world maybe weak
… but No bone shall be broken!
“…on this rock, I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it!”
St Peter, after having personally experienced the Presence and Power of Jesus in his life, could write with deep conviction:
“When the Chief Shepherd is manifested, you will obtain the unfading crown of glory!” (1 Pet 5:4)
Let us draw closer to Jesus, the Great Rock Who will help us to stand firm and become passionate in service of the Church…
And being ready to face any challenge or problem, let it be said of us:
“If someone says, he is not afraid of death or problems in life…
… then he is either lying
… or he is a Christian!”
Happy Feast Day!
God Bless! Live Jesus!