They gloried in suffering humiliation for the sake of Christ, our first reading says. Like all the living things of creation our role is heroic service of God. And that’s best done as part of his church led by Peter, to whom Christ said. “feed my lambs”. Lets confess ways we, God’s lambs, stray from the Petrine fold..
This time of the year is all green leaf, flower and fragrance. Nature blossoms around us in fresh beauty! Our life in Christ is such a spring, ever bright amid the darknesses of life. The Russian poetess Ratushinkaya is a good example of this. She spent years in a Russian labor camp for being Christian; there she developed liver and kidney problems. Yet she says: “faith taught me to prevent my psychological life from being damaged by hatred”. Strong men died there but Christ kept her alive.
It’s sad to see many abandoning that light today for the flabby devils of middle class materialism. We too, influenced by this world, can drift back into the pagan darkness from which Christ delivered us. An uncaring commercial world has little to offer when suffering comes. But in our trials Jesus says, “don’t be afraid, I am with you”. He rose above the cruel world, and amid the storms of life he set up a safe harbor for us in the church.
That apostolic church was born at his resurrection; we see it in infancy in our gospel where Christ already gives it a leader, Peter. At baptism we were initiated into that holy family which will endure forever and against which, Christ promises, the gates of hell can’t prevail in the long run. So even modern devils of materialism and indifference won’t in the long run stifle its light. Christ’s rose in triumph; were children of eternal hope.
The more so considering the keys of the Kingdom were given by the Lord to Peter on the shore of Lake Galilee. God gave his risen Christ all authority in heaven and earth. He passed that on to his church and Peter its head, at the Ascension. So our house is built on a rock. Lets remember that when modern worldliness assails it. Apostolic truth and authority was given by Christ to the church, ensuring its truth and unity forever.
And never was that authority more needed than today, when the trend is to water down the faith to suit passing worldly trends, when arrogant people think themselves above everything even God. When godless self-appointed popes in the media and elsewhere would replace Christ as our masters, dictating spiritual disaster after disaster. Never was the sane unifying voice of Christ’s Catholic church more needed amid this turmoil. For less apostolically grounded churches have tended to go with the world. This is an inevitable consequence of the drift from unity of faith and practice. As Cardinal Newman noted, once churches have split from the church of Rome, they’ve split again and again until now any crackpot can set up a church and call it the church of the spirit or whatever, whereas in fact its the church of their prejudices. We’ve seen where innumerable cults have led us. But the one true, Catholic church, founded on the rock of Peter, despite its faults, maintains the truth in season and out of season. Why? Because the risen lord is at its heart in the form of Peter. So lets heed it rather than the disordered babble of men twisting the truth to suit their own perverse desires. What the world believes constantly changes according to fashion, must we also be straws in every wind? Or follow the true church, whose strength is a Pope who serves rather than controls the Gospel and apostolic tradition. If the world says allow our way, he can’t do so if going back to the living memory of Christ the church has held that it is wrong. He is the rock, not the world’s shifting sands. If we’re wise well build our house on that rock too. For the world’s shifting values of which Satan is lord fade to ashes at last and leave us empty before eternity, but Christ, present in authentic apostolic authority, is lord of truth, happiness, and salvation both for this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s people gifted with the timeless truth of the Risen Lord in his gospel and church lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
For the church throughout the world; led by Peter’s successor, may it guide the worldwide lambs of God to evergreen pastures..
For civil leaders that they may cherish all the people equally according to their dignity as children of God, especially the poor, weak and oppressed in society..
For our youth that following the church and elected leaders who serve in the spirit of Christ, they may come to a peace, grace and salvation the world cannot give for this world or the next..
For ourselves that in our homes, communities and country we may bring the faith of the risen Lord to all those we serve..
For the sick that through our love and care they may know the love of God and find strength and consolation in suffering..
For the dead that they may be raised up as Christ was to heavenly glory by the help of our prayers..
And we ask all these our prayers through the risen Lord who cares for and raises up his holy people forever and ever, amen.
Its interesting that Christ links authority in His church with love. For true leadership is service of the people in love. We sometimes talk of people or parties being “in power”. But surely the role of those in charge of us should be one of loving service of people and society rather than furthering their own power. Certainly, by washing the feet of his disciples Christ gave that model of leadership to the church. We pray to mother Mary that its leaders will follow the motherly model that she exemplifies..Hail Mary