Jesus said to Simon: “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.
You are Peter. Today, we celebrate the Chair (the authority) of St. Peter the Apostle and all his successors. This feast day could not have come at a better time. In less then one week, the Church will not have a Pope; that is, the chair of St. Peter will be vacant. St. Peter, pray for us!
We need a Pope! We need a rock! We need someone we can cling to who is unchanging, unmovable, and undeterred by the waves of mediocrity, vulgarity, skepticism and cynicism. We need someone whose teachings do not reflect us but the one who created us! We need the Church! We need Peter!
We need a Pope! We need Peter, the weakest link in the chain. We need someone who understands us - is like us - but will not use that as an excuse to preach what will please us. We need someone who will struggle like us but stand up for us, lift us up, and encourage us to move forward and ever higher towards the One who wants us. We need Peter!
What purpose is there in redefining life? Is it to make life come down to us? Yes, it is! Since it takes so much effort to climb up the mountain, why not just blow up the mountain and let it come down to us? That’s exactly what we do when we redefine life: we let the enormity of life, and all its possibilities and all its glory, come tumbling down to us. Unfortunately, so many people today do not believe they could ever be better than their impulses. So they "make believe" they are doing better by redefining just about everything in their lives. But they are not doing better. Far from it. They are simpletons in a world that is anything but simple.
Instead of wasting so much time redefining things, why not spend more time striving to live up to the definition. We need someone who will never change, who will reflect the truth that never changes. We need Christ. We need His rock. We need Peter!
You are the Son of the Living God. We need someone like Peter who is just as human as we are and humble enough to know it, yet does not accept it as acceptable. We need someone who will carry the burden of proclaiming the truth while trying to live it himself. Someone who is courageous (and humble) enough to allow the Holy Spirit to direct and guide him. We need someone who is unafraid to speak the truth while others remain comfortably silent. We need Peter! We need Benedict the Brave!
The gates of the netherworld will not prevail. Today, I will be visiting a young man who was swept away by the tide of secularism, narcissism, hedonism and nihilism. This person was given a two year prison sentence for his crime. I know what happened. He rejected God and his parents when he was young and got swept away by his friends. He believed he could party ever night, drink every Friday night, and take drugs. Now, finally, he has been swept ashore. Today, he is holding on to something different, something much more stable; actually, someone more profound. He rediscovered his faith when the two institutions he had rejected in his youth (his family and the Church) were the only two institutions that made time to visit him. We need a rock that never changes. We need a love that is unconditional. We need God. We need Peter!
We need someone who will pick up the broken pieces of our lives. Someone who will teach the truth to us during shattered times. Someone who will not scorn or mock the sinner, but will love the sinner in truth and in faith. We need Peter! We need a rock! We need a Church in which the gates of the netherworld will not prevail.
Resolution: I will offer up my prayers for the Church, for Pope Benedict, for His successor. St. Peter, pray for us!