Day 123: The Pope (880-887)
It’s Day 123!!
THE EPISCOPAL COLLEGE AND ITS HEAD, THE POPE
The Episcopal College refers to the communion of the bishops
The HEAD of the Episcopal College is the Bishop of Rome
Today we are talking about the bishops united with the Holy Father
The ROLE of the Holy Father that he has been UNIQUELY ASSIGNED BY JESUS CHRIST
The Holy Father is the SUCCESSOR OF ST. PETER
Jesus gave St. Peter the office of BINDING AND LOOSING in a VERY UNIQUE WAY
It was also shared with the other Apostles united to the head, St. Peter
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
We have that even today
The bishops are the heads of their own diocese
They are the successor of the apostle in their own diocese
They have a great amount of authority
It is always necessitated to be united with the Holy Father in Rome, the Vicar of Christ
Every paragraph is kind of like a MCNUGGET
It’s not really because MCNUGGETS are the summaries
We all know that
What are the bishops?
What do the bishops do?
What is the Pope?
What does the Pope do?
So let’s say a prayer!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and glory. Thank you that through your Son and by the Power of the Holy Spirit you established your Church. Thank you for selecting Simon, the fisherman, and making him your Vicar on Earth, making him the Al Habayit, making him that prime minister, making him the Pope. Thank you for giving him that role and for continuing that by the Power of your Holy Spirit down to this day that visible sign of unity. Thank you so much, Lord. And also thank you for giving us the Apostles and their successors, the bishops. Right now, Lord God, we want to lift up every individual bishop. That every person who is listening will just lift up before you every one of those bishops that are our bishops. We ask that you please continue to guide them. Continue to sanctify them. Continue to protect them. That they can lead us well. That they can teach us well. That they can sanctify us through their office. Lord God, make them holy. And by doing so, extend that holiness to your people as well. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen”
So there we have it!!
A lot of the nuts and bolts about the Papacy and the office of the bishops
IT’S SO GOOD!!
We have this VISIBLE CHURCH that Christ instituted
Jesus did not say, “Hey, just go out and do whatever!”
Jesus actually called to Himself those whom He chose and wanted
We know this from Scripture
Among them, He chose St. Peter to be the HEAD
Paragraph 881 says, “The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the ‘rock’ of his Church.”
This comes from Matthew 16:18-19
Simon’s name was Simon and he was the brother of Andrew
He went to this place called Caesarea Philippi which is about 29 miles north of Capernum, Jesus’ home base for so much of His ministry
If you walk up to Caesarea Philip you see this massive rock which is a couple hundred feet high
Build into that rock were numerous temples at the time
Jesus asked the question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The Apostles answered, “Some say Elijah. Some say John the Baptist come back from the dead. Some say one of the prophets.”
None of those answers are right
So Jesus asks, “Who do YOU say that I am?”
Simon stood up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus responds, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven. Therefore, you shall be called Peter because on this ROCK I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
This is remarkable for so many reasons
In Scripture, whenever someone’s name is CHANGED they are given a NEW MISSION
Name is SO CONNECTED to identity
Name is SO CONNECTED to mission
Jesus is changing Simon’s name to ROCK which in Aramaic is CEPHAS
In Latin it would be PETROS
So his NAME is changed
His MISSION is changed
His IDENTITY is changed
“Upon this rock I will build my Church. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom. What you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. What you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.”
THAT is a direct reference to the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
Where it talks about the OFFICE and the OLD COVENANT
The role of the KING and Jesus is the KING
Scripture and the Gospel of Matthew makes that INCREDIBLY CLEAR
The Old Testament had a role that served the King
THE AL HABAYIT
The one who is OVER THE HOUSE
THE PRIME MINISTER
Isaiah Ch 21 describes the role of the Al Habayit, the Prime Minister
Part of his role is that what he opens, no one shall shut
What he shuts, no one shall open
He has the keys to the Kingdom of David on his shoulder
There are all these MASSIVE CONNECTIONS between what Jesus is saying to Simon, now called Peter/Cephas, and what was written in The Book of the Prophet Isaiah
All those Apostles standing around would have known EXACTLY what Jesus was doing
Jesus was making their BUDDY their LEADER
There is this DIGNITY among ALL BELIEVERS
There is UNITY in that DIGNITY
There is UNITY in BELONGING TO THE COVENANT
There are also ROLES in that Old Covenant
One of those roles is the Al Habayit
In the New Covenant there is UNIQUE DIGNITY SHARED BY ALL BELIEVERS
There is a ROLE
The ROLE that Jesus specifically gives to Peter to be the Al Habayit
Paragraph 881 continues, “He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.”
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
What happens at the end of the Gospel of John?
Jesus is Risen from the dead
Peter and his brother and some other folks are out fishing on the Sea of Galilee
They see Jesus on the shore and Peter jumps into the water and swims to shore
Jesus makes them breakfast of fish on a charcoal fire
What happens then?
Jesus says, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter says, “Yes, Lord, I love you.”
Jesus responds, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus asks a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter again responds, “Yes, Lord, I love you.”
Jesus responds, “Tend my lambs.”
Jesus asks a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter is aggrieved that Jesus asks a third time if he loved Him
Jesus responds, “Tend my sheep.”
We can be tempted to think that Jesus chose Peter in Matthew Ch 16 but then he LOST that when he denied Jesus and ran away
In John’s Gospel, Jesus is not giving any indication that Peter lost his ROLE AS SHEPHERD after his denial
Jesus not only reiterated this role, but He KNEW this was going to happen
Remember in The Gospel of Luke, Peter said he would suffer and die with Jesus
Jesus says to Peter, “Satan has decided to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed for YOU, Peter, that after you have returned you may strengthen your brethren.”
All along the way, Jesus keeps giving Peter this UNIQUE ROLE
The same God that gave Peter this UNIQUE ROLE is the SAME GOD who continues to call HIS SUCCESSORS for the SAME UNIQUE ROLE
THE ROLE OF BINDING AND LOOSING
THE ROLE OF GOVERNING
THE ROLE OF SANCTIFYING
THE ROLE OF LEADING
THAT IS WHAT WE BELIEVE!!
At the same time, the Roman Pontiff is a fancy term
PONTIFF means BRIDGE
PONTIFEX means BRIDGE BUILDER
So it’s NOT like the Lord
JESUS IS THE LORD!!
The Pope is NOT the Lord
The Pope is the SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD
He is united with the bishops
THAT IS REMARKABLE!!
Paragraph 886 says, “‘The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches.’ As such, they ‘exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them,’ assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all Churches. The bishops exercise this care first ‘by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church,’ and so contributing ‘to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches.’”
Your local bishop is the VISIBLE SOURCE AND FOUNDATION OF UNITY in their diocese
In many ways it is similar to the way the Pope exercises this pastoral office over the WHOLE WORLD
The bishop exercises this pastoral office over the WHOLE DIOCESE
As your local bishop serves his local community more and more and better and better, then the more and more the WHOLE BODY is strengthened
St. Paul said, “As one member of the whole body is strengthened, the whole body is strengthened. When one member grows weak, the whole body suffers.”
That’s one of the many reasons all of us are called to work together and to continue to strive to grow in holiness
WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR OUR BISHOPS!!
So they can continue to lead us well
So they can continue to serve us well
When one member of the body is strengthened, we are all strengthened
So pray for each one of our bishops, priests, brothers, sisters, and for each other
When any one person listening to this, when you are strengthened, you strengthen the whole Church
When we are weakened by sin, in some mysterious way the Church weakens
So let’s pray for each other
WE HAVE TO!!
Pray for the bishops
Pray for those who serve us
Pray for those who lead us
Pray for each other
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!