I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
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.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Pt 5:1-4)
Today we celebrate the Chair of St. Peter and, as we do so, we are reminded of our own responsibilities in the faith. Peter was the one chosen by Christ and it was upon Peter that the Church was founded. Yet, we know that it was more than Peter’s responsibility to spread the faith. It was incumbent upon each and every apostle and disciple.
The followers of Jesus Christ continue right down to today. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, that means that we must accept the commission to proclaim the Good News in our world so that every person has the opportunity to hear about Jesus and has the chance to respond to His invitation.
Nowhere in the commissioning of the apostles did Jesus say anything about going out to build up their own reputations or to make tons of money or to be the most influential. As a matter of fact, Jesus indicated that the followers may meet resistance — even harsh treatment and death — but that they were sent out nonetheless because the message is that crucial.
That was the thrust of Peter’s message today: “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.”
As we celebrate this feast, we pray for Pope Francis, the successor of St. Peter, as well as for his brother bishops, that they may have the grace needed to guide the flock of Jesus Christ in this world. We pray, as well, for ourselves, that we accept — eagerly — the commissioning of Jesus Christ to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth.
FAITH ACTION: As you go about your day, do all that you do for the greater honor and glory of God rather than for your own advantage.