On Sunday, the bones of St Peter were presented to the world for the first time at a public Mass. How wonderful and almost unbelievable it is that, in 2013, a man from Argentina has reintroduced us to his predecessor, a Galilean fisherman born millennia ago.
This fisherman, of course, promised Christ our Lord to feed His sheep and by grace carried on what the Son had started. He was a rock who entreated us to be “living stones”. He was a man whose pauper’s grave became the physical foundation of the greatest collection of art and spirituality in western civilisation. Every day we witness the fruits of his labour and the heritage his faith in Christ has bequeathed to our world.
When the bones were being venerated I could not help but recall the words written by St Peter that Pope Francis has passionately embraced: “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 so the Year of Faith has ended with a moment to drink in the words of one of the greatest lovers and friends of Christ. This is an excellent opportunity for us to meditate on the two epistles bearing St Peter’s name. The message from Peter and Pope Francis through the ages has not changed: “Know the Faith!”
With this knowledge which illumines our dark world let us, the flock, also passionately embrace the words of St Peter: “Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you … if you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”