Thought of the day
6/7/2019 6:41:23 AM

Friday of the Seventh week of Easter


"Tend my sheep"

The Bishop of Rome is the Bishop of the Church which preserves the mark of the martyrdom of Peter and of Paul... The Gospel of Matthew gives a clear outline of the pastoral mission of Peter in the Church...: "I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church...» (16:18). Luke makes clear that Christ urged Peter to strengthen his brethren, while at the same time reminding him of his own human weakness and need of conversion (22:31-32). It is just as though, against the backdrop of Peter's human weakness, it were made fully evident that his particular ministry in the Church derives altogether from grace... Peter, immediately after receiving his mission, is rebuked with unusual severity by Christ, who tells him: "You are a hindrance to me" (Mt 16:23). How can we fail to see that the mercy which Peter needs is related to the ministry of that mercy which he is the first to experience?... The Gospel of John emphasizes that Peter receives the charge of shepherding the flock on the occasion of a threefold profession of love, which corresponds to his threefold denial... As for Paul, he is able to end the description of his ministry with the amazing words which he had heard from the Lord himself: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"; consequently, he can exclaim: "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:9-10)... As the heir to the mission of Peter in the Church..., the Bishop of Rome exercises a ministry originating in the manifold mercy of God. This mercy converts hearts and pours forth the power of grace where the disciple experiences the bitter taste of his personal weakness and helplessness. The authority proper to this ministry is completely at the service of God's merciful plan and it must always be seen in this perspective. Its power is explained from this perspective. Associating himself with Peter's threefold profession of love, which corresponds to the earlier threefold denial, his Successor knows that he must be a sign of mercy. His is a ministry of mercy, born of an act of Christ's own mercy. This whole lesson of the Gospel must be constantly read anew, so that the exercise of the Petrine ministry may lose nothing of its authenticity and transparency.