And Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that
the Son of man is? But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of
the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art
Christ, the Son of the living God. And
Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art
thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and
blood hath not revealed it to thee, but
my Father who is in heaven. And I say to
thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this
rock I will build my church, and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it. And I
will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of
heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon
earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it
shall be loosed also in heaven. Then he severely
ordered his disciples that they should tell no
one that he was the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Thou art Peter: As St. Peter, by divine revelation, here made a solemn profession
of his faith of the divinity of Christ; so in recompense of this faith and
profession, our Lord here declares to him the dignity to which he is pleased
to raise him: viz., that he to whom he had already given the name of Peter,
signifying a rock, St. John 1. 42, should be a rock indeed, of invincible
strength, for the support of the building of the church; in which building
he should be, next to Christ himself, the chief foundation stone, in quality
of chief pastor, ruler, and governor; and should have accordingly all fulness
of ecclesiastical power, signified by the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Upon this rock: The words of Christ to Peter, spoken in the vulgar language
of the Jews which our Lord made use of, were the same as if he had said in English,
Thou art a Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church. So that, by the plain
course of the words, Peter is here declared to be the rock, upon which the church
was to be built: Christ himself being both the principal foundation and founder of
the same. Where also note, that Christ, by building his house, that is, his church,
upon a rock, has thereby secured it against all storms and floods, like the wise
builder, St. Matt. 7. 24, 25.
The gates of hell: That is, the powers of darkness, Death and the underworld,
and whatever Satan can do, either by himself, or his agents. For as the church is
here likened to a house, or fortress, built on a rock; so the adverse powers are
likened to a contrary house or fortress, the gates of which, that is, the whole
strength, and all the efforts it can make, will never be able to prevail over the
city or church of Christ. By this promise we are fully assured, that neither
idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever shall at any time prevail
over the church of Christ.
Loose upon earth: The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins,
is called an indulgence; the power of which is here granted.
Gospel according to Saint Matthew 16: 13-19
"Every year on February 22, the Church celebrates the
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, to commemorate
Saint Peterís teaching in Rome.
Already in the second half of the 18th century an ancient
wooden chair inlaid with ivory was venerated and
traditionally held to be the Episcopal chair on which
Saint Peter sat as he instructed the faithful of Rome.
In fact, it is a throne in which fragments of acacia wood
are visible, which could be part of the chair of Saint Peter,
encased in oak and reinforced with iron bands. Several rings
facilitated its transportation during processions. Pope
Alexander VII commissioned Bernini to build a sumptuous
monument which would give prominence to this ancient wooden
chair. Bernini built a throne in gilded bronze, richly
ornamented with bas-reliefs in which the chair was enclosed:
two pieces of furniture, one within the other. On
January 17, 1666 it was solemnly set above the altar."
Chair of Saint Peter
by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (b.1598 -d. 1659);
Tribune Altar of the Cathedra Petri, Saint Peterís Basilica; above on the golden
background is the Latin inscription: "O Pastor Ecclesiae, tu omnes Christi pascis
agnos et oves" (O Pastor of the Church, you feed all Christís lambs and sheep).
Thanks to faith, the power of God keeps all of you for the
salvation disposed to be revealed at the final moment. This
is why you greatly rejoice in spite of the diverse trials you
must endure momentarily. In this manner, your faith, once put
to the test, will be much more valuable than perishable gold
purified by fire, and will become a motive for praise, glory
and honor on the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ, because
you all love Him and yet you have not seen Him, and you believe
without yet having seen him. You rejoice with an uspeakable bliss
full of glory, certain to achieve the end of that faith, which is
salvation. This salvation has been the object of the search and
investigation of the prophets who foretold the grace destined for
you all. They tried to discover the time and circumstances signaled
by the Spirit of Christ, which was present in them, announcing the
sufferings reserved for Christ and the glory that would follow them.
As obedient children do not proceed according to the bad desires you
followed before, while you lived in ignorance. Just like the One who
called you is saintly, you must also be sainty in your entire conduct,
in accordance with what is written: be saintly because I am saintly.
And since you call Father the one who, without favoring anyone, judges
each one according to their works, live in fear while you are passing
through this world. You know that you were rescued from the vain conduct
you inherited from your original parents, not with corruptible goods like
gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, without stain
and without defect, predestined before the creation of the world and
manifested in the last times for your good.
Because of Jesus Christ you believe in God the Father, who has resurrected
and glorified Him, in such a manner that your faith and hope are placed in God.
Thanks to your obedience to the Truth, you have been purified so as to love each
other sincerely like brothers, like those who have been conceived anew, not by a
corruptible seed, but by an incorruptible one: the Word of God, alive and eternal.
Because all flesh is like herbs and all its glory like a flower of the field: Herbs dry out and flowers wither.
Yet the Word of the Lord will remain for ever. This is the Word that has been announced: the Good News.
First Epistle of Saint Peter 1: 5-11, 14-25
Hymn to the Prince of the Apostles by Saint Peter Damian
O Prince of the Apostolic Senate! Herald of our Lord! First Pastor
of the Faithful! watch over the Flock intrusted to thee.
Lead us through verdant pastures, feeding us with the nourishment of
the Word; and lead us, thus fed, into the heavenly fold, whither thou
hast already gone.
To thee, Peter, have been delivered the Keys of heavenís gate; and all
things, both in heaven and on earth, acknowledge thy authority.
Tis thou that choosest the city where is to be established the rock of
the true faith, the foundation of the building, on which the Catholic Church
Thy shadow, as thou passest by, heals the sick; and Tabitha, that made garments
for the poor, was raised to life at thy bidding.
Bound with two chains, thou wast set free by an Angelís power; he bids thee put
on thy garments and thy sandals, and lo! the prison door is opened.
To the Father unbegotten, and to the Only-Begotten Son, and to the co-equal Spirit
of them both, be praise and kingly highest power. Amen
Christ Handing the Keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter
by Pietro Perugino, Capella Sistina, Vatican, Rome, Italy;
Saint Peter as Pope depicted with the pallium and the Keys to Heaven
by Peter Paul Rubens; 1610-1612; Museo Nacional del Prado; Madrid, Spain;
Christ Giving the Keys to Saint Peter
by Peter Paul Rubens; 1612-1614; Gemšldegalerie, Berlin, Germany;
January 18 (Historical) / February 22 (Traditional and New) - The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, the Apostle
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in the Most Holy Virgin Mary,
for the Glory of God
The Apostolic Blessing by the Holy See in Rome is bestowed (October 28, 2013)
Omnia ad majoren Dei Gloriam!
(All for the greater glory of God)
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