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Saturday, February 22, 2014

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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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"i believe in the holy, catholic church"

"On this rock I will build My church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it." —Matthew 16:18

At the Masses of Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, all the Catholics of the world will be asked to renew their baptismal promises. The last of the baptismal promises is: "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy, catholic Church?", etc. When we renew our baptismal promises, we acknowledge that we were baptized in one Spirit into one body, the Church (1 Cor 12:13). In baptism, we have committed ourselves to remain faithful to one another as members of the body of Christ. Thus, we are obligated to celebrate Mass each Sunday with the other members of Christ's body, and to go to Confession annually to be reconciled with the Church. We must also pray for, support, serve, and obey the Church. Moreover, it is not an option for a Catholic to join another Christian denomination or religion. This would be denying our baptismal promises.

Do you love the Church as Jesus loves the Church? If you are to make the last baptismal promise, you must be willing to lay down your life for her (Eph 5:25). In baptism, we have made the commitment to love the Church unconditionally, even when it is most unlovable. This is humanly impossible, but the Holy Spirit, Who birthed the Church, will give us the grace to love the Church. In the power of the Spirit, love the Church and live the new life through baptism.

Prayer:  Father, may I grieve over those who have left the Church. Give me confidence that You will lead them back.

Promise:  "God's flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd's care. Watch over it willingly as God would have you do, not under constraint; and not for shameful profit either, but generously." —1 Pt 5:2

Praise:  St. Peter imitated Jesus in his ministry and in crucifixion, leaving a strong example for later popes (see 1 Pt 2:21ff).

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Lent and the Renewal of Our Baptismal Promises.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013

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