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I will give you the keys

GOSPEL: MT 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.”


Simon Peter’s confession is used as Gospel reading for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. While Peter is at times presented as sitting on a chair, while holding a key, the feast is not about a material chair (although a statue called Cathedra Petri is located in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome). Rather, it points to the office of the Pope, as successor of Peter, in teaching and guiding the people of God. His solemn teaching on faith and morals is defined ex cathedra – “from the chair” – and this becomes a part of the Magisterium. In the exercise of this solemn office, the Pope enjoys the same guidance with which the Lord assured Peter when the Lord gave him the “power of the keys.”

Celebrating the “Chair” of Peter, therefore, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wants to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation through the leadership of the Pope, the successor of Peter in the See of Rome. We pray for Pope Francis, the present successor of Peter, so he can shepherd God’s flock with loving care.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.