22 Feb 2017
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
From its beginnings, the Church has been a hierarchy. Christ is Head and Shepherd, of course. But, still, to some people he gives the responsibility of being a shepherd, teacher, and guide for others. It’s a distinguishing mark of the Church: that there’s always somebody else who is responsible for us; somebody else who’s always keeping watch over the flock.
In Peter’s letter from today, he gives some advice and counsel to his fellow shepherds. He cautions them against being distracted from their task. He reminds them not to “lord it over those assigned” to them but, instead, to be an example. And, finally, he encourages them to be ever mindful of Christ the chief Shepherd.
No matter who we are and what our role is in the Church—whether it’s as a shepherd or as one of the sheep—there’s always somebody “over us,” somebody trying to guide us to Christ. And we need to pray for those people: priests, bishops, the pope. We need to keep them in prayer, hoping that Christ will shepherd them, and that they will allow themselves to be shepherded by Christ, so that, in turn, they will shepherd the flock along the right path.
There’ll always be some shepherd looking out for us. But we can also look out for our shepherds, and keep them and their ministry in prayer.