Bishop Banda’s Homily, Feast of the Chair of St.Peter
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Chair is the symbol not only
of authority entrusted to Peter but also of servant leadership. This feast as it were calls to
mind to seek to understand its triple intertwined dimensions of revelation, appointment
From our gospel passage – there is the question of identity. Jesus posses the following
questions: “Who do the people say I am?” and further He asks again but differently “Who
do you say that I am?”
To the first question, public opinion ranks Jesus very high, among the highest socio-
religious figures of the past and the prophets. Yet, although positive, the opinions were
false. They did not capture the true identity of Jesus. Public opinion is as good as
guesswork and it is mainly based on hearsay and imagination. This is the point Jesus
is making when he further asks his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”
It is Peter who has the correct answer in his confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of
the Living God.” And Jesus himself indicates the true source of that answer as his
“Father who is in heaven”, who has revealed it to Peter. Only the Father knows the true
identity of Jesus. As Jesus would say in (Mt. 11: 27), that “No one knows the Son except
the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son
chooses to reveal him.”
At the close of the gospel passage is the appointment of Peter to serve. Peter is
entrusted not only with the foundations of the Church but also authority. He is entrusted
with authority to teach, to guide, and to bind and to loose its membership from
consequences. From then on to this present age, the Church has traced her origins and
her authority and her apostolic succession to this divine appointment of St. Peter.
However, in all this journey of faith Jesus has remained architect, builder and guide of
the Church throughout history as He promised, “I will be with you until the end of time.”
In our celebrations today, let us pray for divine guidance on the Holy Father, Pope
Francis I and the entire Church that the Church may be led into a life-affirming body of
Christ that is curative, forgiving, and healing.
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