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Monday, February 22, 2010

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Chair of St. Peter

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

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pope-less experiments

"Jesus replied, 'Blest are you, Simon son of Jonah! No mere man has revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father. I for My part declare to you, you are "Rock," and on this rock I will build My church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.' " —Matthew 16:17-18

The Holy Spirit is the Source of unity (Eph 4:3). God's plan of salvation is "to bring all things in the heavens and on earth into one under Christ's headship" (Eph 1:10). "There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all, and works through all, and is in all" (Eph 4:4-6). Jesus is praying that we would be one as He and the Father are one (Jn 17:21).

However, despite the Holy Trinity's insistence on unity, the Church, the body of Christ, is severely disunited. We believe in the same God, Lord, Spirit, and Scriptures, but this has not restored our unity. Has the Lord provided anything else to preserve and restore the unity of His body?

It seems as if we need the pope. Eastern Orthodox Christians have tried to do without a pope for about 1,000 years. Protestants have gone without a pope for almost 500 years. These two extended experiments have not been altogether successful. Eastern Orthodoxy has not grown to evangelize the world. Protestantism has been fragmented into thousands of separate groups. We seem to need a pope. We need to accept Peter, the rock on which Christ promised to build His Church (Mt 16:18).

Prayer:  Jesus, Foundation of the Church (1 Cor 3:11), may I accept in practical ways Your choice of Peter and his successors as leaders of Your Church.

Promise:  "Be examples to the flock, not lording it over those assigned to you, so that when the chief Shepherd appears you will win for yourselves the unfading crown of glory." —1 Pt 5:3-4

Praise:  "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He Who in His great mercy gave us new birth" (1 Pt 1:3).

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009

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