09 The Throne of Truth - D. D. Emmons

posted Feb 14, 2019, 10:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 14, 2019, 10:20 AM ]

The feast of the Chair of St Peter is held on February 22 each year.

The "chair" symbolises the authority of St Peter and his successors who have served the Church of Jesus Christ as the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). As a matter of fact, in Rome's St Peter's Basilica, there is a chair, enshrined in the sumptuous Altar of the Chair of St Peter by the great architect Bernini, but it is a symbol representing the 2,000-year-old papacy and unity the Pope continues to bring to Catholics around the world. Without such unity, the Church would splinter into numerous sects and divisions.

Cathedra

So, every year on February 22, the Church celebrates the continuing role of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, beginning with St Peter. The use of the term 'chair' in the feast day comes from the Latin term 'cathedra', meaning the seat of government. But how did such a feast day ever get started? We need to go back to the time of Jesus for the answer.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks the Twelve Apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" (16:15). The only response Jesus acknowledged was that of Peter, who said that Jesus was the son of the living God. Jesus in turn said to Peter, "Blessed art you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" (v. 17). Peter's answer is inspired by God, and from that point, Peter is singled out from among the apostles to be the rock of Christ's Church on earth. According to Jesus, the Church will be so rock solid that "the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it" (v. 18).

Later, following the Resurrection, Jesus confirms Peter's primacy over the other apostles, as well as authority over His Church. He gives Peter the keys to the kingdom, telling him: to "Feed my lambs… Feed my sheep" (see Jn 21:15-17). This authority, this responsibility given to Peter, is meant to be passed on to each of his successors. Jesus did not intend for the Church to end with Peter.

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