Friday, February 21, 2014

Tend the Flock

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.  Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock.  1 Peter 5:2-3

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  Matthew 16:15-19

The Lord is my pace setter, I shall not rush. 
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals. 
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity. 
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind, and his guidance is peace. 
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here. 
His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance. 
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity, by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility. 
My cup of joyous energy overflows; surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours. 
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord, and dwell in His house forever.  (Psalm 23 Japanese version quoted by Paul Wagler in 2009 on his blog Abbey Mountain)

When did you get your first key?  What did it open?  What did it offer?

Long before I ever got a key to the house (or a car), I got a key to a bike lock and a school locker.  Being the keeper of the key gave me control.  I could open things others could not.  I could go places on my own without a parent, relative, neighbor or sibling having to drive me.  I could keep some things secure without having to worry about who might take them away. 

Jesus offers all this to Peter and to us.  Jesus gives us the key to life:  free will to choose to open up our relationship with the Lord.  We are in control of saying “Yes” or “No” to the Lord.   We can choose to go places with Jesus or go it alone.  We can secure our lives in trust and humility.

While the figurative keys that Jesus gifts to Peter have come to symbolize the Papacy, those keys also are entrusted to us.  These keys are our keys to choosing a relationship with Jesus.  We can choose to open it or leave it locked away and turn instead to “shameful profit.”

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