The Word Among Us

Mass Reading & Meditation for February 22, 2020

Meditation: Matthew 16:13-19

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The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle (Feast)

Upon this rock I will build my Church. (Matthew 16:18)

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Walter Mitty, the character in a well-known short story by James Thurber, is a bored suburbanite who imagines himself in heroic roles like a Navy pilot, a famous surgeon, and a dangerous spy. In these imaginary situations, Mitty is stronger, more courageous, and more decisive than in real life.

You might wonder if Peter had ever fantasized about doing something else when he was a fisherman. Well, as it turned out, Peter got not only a new job but a new name and a radically different life. He became “the Rock” on which Jesus built his Church. However, unlike Walter Mitty, Peter didn’t suddenly become an imaginary hero. He grew into his new identity, often by making a lot of mistakes along the way. He even denied knowing Jesus at one point! But he kept at it, and eventually he became all that Jesus had envisioned.

This is how it works in our lives as well. When we are confirmed, we often take on a new name, a saint’s name. Then we commit ourselves to continue to grow in holiness as we learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It’s no fantasy. We know that we are weak, but we can take comfort in the fact that the Spirit is powerful and loves to give us his strength.

As you celebrate Peter’s role as bishop and apostle today, remember that this onetime fisherman didn’t start out as a saint. But God didn’t give up on him, and he didn’t give up on God! Remember too that God doesn’t give up on you—so don’t give up on him! He is always ready to give you more grace so that you can become the hero or heroine you want to be deep down inside. And remember that your heavenly Father is right there beside you, cheering you on every step of the way.

“Lord, I place my trust in you. Teach me, and remove all the stumbling blocks that keep me from becoming the saint you have called me to be.”

1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalm 23:1-6

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