February 22, 2018
by Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Creighton University's Institute for Priestly Formation
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
Lectionary: 535

1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalm 23:1-3a, 4, 5, 6
Matthew 16:13-19

Praying Lent
Lent Prayer for Today

Cooking Lent
Recipes for Ash Wednesday,
all the Fridays of Lent and for Good Friday

The First Week of Lent - 26 min. - Text Transcript

What Is Fasting and Abstinence?
The Invitation of Lent
Choosing Lent, Acting Lent

Equipped for the Call

Today’s feast recalls the ministry of teaching and witnessing given to Peter and all his successors.  As recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls Peter to become the Rock upon which Jesus builds the Church. This appointment stems from the dramatic dialogue of Jesus and Peter which precedes it. When asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter boldly asserts:  “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”  The appointment has been made, and yet the gospels inform us of the long road  ahead in Peter’s life, a road with many twists and turns, that Peter had to walk, leading from that moment to his eventual life of teaching and witnessing, a witnessing that would lead to his own martyrdom.

We recall only too vividly how the boldness of Peter faded away after the arrest of Jesus as he denied that he even knew Jesus—a denial voiced, not once, but three times.  As he himself testifies in today’s first reading, Peter also witnessed the suffering and death of Jesus.  And it was Peter who received love anew from the lips of Jesus in that memorable dialogue after the Resurrection.  All of this—sin, repentance and forgiveness, was part of the formation Peter would receive, equipping him for the role he would play in the early church.  Yes, in his confession of faith he knew the identity of Jesus.  But in the moment of forgiveness for his betrayal, he knew the mercy of Jesus, the memory of which became the true fuel that fired his life and eventual death.  And with that, he was equipped for the call he had received.

For all followers of Jesus, there can be no more powerful moment of encounter with the Risen Jesus than the encounter that brings forgiveness.  No one but God alone can forgive sins.  To encounter forgiveness is to encounter the power of the Risen Lord.  The memory of that encounter provides the fuel for our own life of faith and witness to him.  Whatever our own particular calling may be, preserving the memory of Jesus’ mercy becomes one of the most important ways we can assure the vitality of that calling.

Is there a “memory of mercy” that we might call to mind today?  Is that a memory that we cherish?  How has that “memory of mercy” equipped us for our calling? 

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