THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2020
ROCKS AND LIVING STONES
Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
February 22, 2020
1 Peter 5:1-4
We need to be built on the Rock that is Christ. Now the body
of Christ on earth is the Church. And just as God makes use
of human instruments to do His divine will, so also is our
Church led by a human person, who is the Pope. Jesus thus
so appointed Peter. “And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt 16:18a).
The Church, founded on the Rock that is Christ, is also founded
on the rock that is Peter.
if we build on rock, then the winds and floods that buffet
the house cannot bring it down. Thus “the gates of the
netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18b).
But here is the interesting thing. Gates are for defense.
So what this verse means is not that the enemy will not prevail
against the Church as it assaults her (although that is true),
but that it is the Church that assaults the enemy and the
enemy cannot stand against her assaults. So from the very
establishment of the Church as founded on Peter, Jesus has
indicated the spiritual war that she will be engaged in. Our
Church is missionary.
So there is Jesus the Rock, Peter the rock, and all of us
as living stones of the structure. In the Church, as with
any association or organization, there is not just one leader
but many leaders, usually in hierarchical order. These are
servant leaders, tasked with the life and mission of the Church.
They are to “tend the flock of God in (their) midst”
(1 Pt 5:2a). They are placed there to act in the place of
God, “as God would have it” (1 Pt 5:2c). They
do not replace God, but represent God and carry out His will
do servant leaders go about their work?
serve “not by constraint but willingly” (1 Pt
5:2b). They are not forced or paid to work, but voluntarily
give of themselves. They recognize the great privilege of
doing divine work and so do so willingly.
They serve “not for shameful profit but eagerly.”
(1 Pt 5:2d). They are not after any material or other benefit
such as money, business opportunities, perquisites, or enhancement
of their power or recognition. Being able to serve is reward
enough, and so they eagerly pursue it.
“do not lord it over those assigned to (them)”
(1 Pt 5:3a). They are not masters but servants. In being
at the top, they have taken the lowest place. In being the
greatest, they are the least. They do not serve as rulers
of the world do but as Jesus does.
are “examples to the flock.” (1 Pt 5:3b). Standing
in the place of Jesus, who is the Chief Shepherd, they witness
to Christ by their holy conduct and committed service. They
are able to encourage people to imitate them because they
themselves imitate Christ.
They follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as “witness
to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the
glory to be revealed.” (1 Pt 5:1b). Jesus was the
suffering servant, and they too willingly embrace the cross.
But this is not cause for woe but for great joy. The cross
is the way to glory. “And when the chief Shepherd
is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
(1 Pt 5:4).
Jesus establishes his Church, makes her victorious against
the enemy, and gives us the privilege to serve his flock.
We do work on earth, but being divine work, we focus on Jesus
and take on his ways. And Jesus does provide whatever it is
we need. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing
I lack.” (Ps 23:1). Jesus wants his kingdom secure and
his work done. So he takes care of his leaders.
guides us so we will not go astray and we will do what he
wills. “He guides me along right paths for the sake
of his name.” (Ps 23:3b).
He refreshes us and restores us, as we endure the hardships
of service. “In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul.”
He protects us from the enemy, as we charge into the fray.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your
rod and your staff comfort me.” (Ps 23:4).
He exults us and honors us. “You set a table before
me in front of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.” (Ps 23:5). He is never outdone
in generosity. We experience bountiful blessings. “Indeed,
goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life.”
He assures us of eternal life. “I will dwell in the
house of the Lord for endless days.” (Ps 23:6b).
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