Daily Reflection
February 22nd, 2000
Daniel O'Reilly
Registrar's Office
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Chair of Saint Peter, apostle - Feast 
1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalms 23:1-6
Matthew 16:13-19

Today’s readings are some of the more beautiful in Scripture.  They challenge us to rise to a task, they reassure us that we don’t approach the task alone and they promise incredible rewards if we only try our best.  So what is the task, who will help us and what is the reward?

In 1 Peter, Peter appeals to his fellow elders in the church to “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care.”  Peter calls on them to be examples to those entrusted to their care.  Not for their own glory, but because they want to serve God.  Well, I’m 44 years old, but am I an elder?  Is there a flock of any kind under my care?  The answer for all of us is “yes.”  I am a husband, father, son, brother and friend.  And my responsibility doesn’t stop there.  I am a Sunday school teacher, a soccer coach and small group member.  And it doesn’t stop there.  I am a member of the human race, tasked by Christ to love my neighbor.  So, I’m supposed to be an ambassador for Christ to the entire world?  Yikes!  What an overwhelming responsibility.  All of a sudden this task has grown to intimidating proportions.  This just doesn’t seem possible.  I am a weak and flawed individual.  I don’t know that I’m qualified to represent Christ out there in that big, bad world.  I don’t know how to approach this task.

And then, after this huge shepherding challenge, comes the reassurance.  In Psalm 23 we are told that God will be our shepherd.  He will guide us wherever we go.  When the task is overwhelming and we are completely worn out, He will give us rest and restore us.  And this isn’t a temporary arrangement of “you do this one job for me and I’ll help you out tomorrow.”  This is a guarantee for life.  This is a promise of support wherever we go, whatever we do, forever.

Well, if God is my shepherd and helps me along this path, maybe I can at least attempt to be a shepherd.  So if I follow Christ, try to be a good example and am an ambassador for Jesus, what happens then?   Well, we will be given the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” and we “will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away.”  Wow!  What an incredible reward.  God presents us with the challenge, God supports us through the task and God rewards us for the effort.  What a loving, faithful and ever-present God we have.

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