Today is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Chair is always identified, whether in the secular or religious sphere, as a symbol of authority. Prestigious and large universities have what are called professorial chairs. These are symbols of the authority of the professor to teach legitimate teachings. So when we speak of the authority of Peter, we also speak of the chair of St. Peter. We are celebrating the authority of the person who sits on the chair.
We are celebrating today that great mystery of the Church that says: Peter, the apostle, has the authority to teach in the Church.
The chair of Peter is very much different from the chair of the professors. Unlike the chair of professors which these academic experts have to work for, the chair of Peter was granted to him by Jesus Christ – gratis et amore. The chair of Peter is rooted in his apostolic witnessing. He could not teach if he were not a witness. Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, said “What the 20th century world needs now are not teachers but witnesses. If teachers are important today it is first of all because they have been, first, witnesses.”
That is the basis of the authority of Peter. He could teach because he was first of all a witness.
We can learn from the example of Peter. He was able to teach and people believed in him because he was first a witness of Jesus Christ.
His authority does not lord over people. His authority is that of a good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.
Parents, what your children need are not parents, they need witnesses, If you are credible as a parent, it is first of all because you have first been credible as a witness of Jesus Christ.
What the world needs now are not priests, what the world needs now are witnessing priests. What the world needs now are not baptized Christians, what the world needs now are witnessing Christians.
If we look into our hearts, we are bound to discover the discrepancy between our words and our actions. We are bound to discover the great difference between what we speak of and what we carry in our hearts.
The ideal is that what we speak of is what we do. The ideal is that what we say is what we also carry in our hearts. Let us pray for sincerity. Let us pray for the grace to become effective witnesses.
WE NEED WITNESSING TEACHERS
Only Jesus, Always Jesus