22nd February 2021

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(Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle)

Reading 1: 1 Pet 5: 1-4 Peter exhorts the leaders of the Church to be shepherds to the flock entrusted to them. He asks them to be an example that the flock can follow.

Gospel: Mt 16:13-19 Peter makes the confession of faith: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus makes Peter the rock on which Jesus would build his Church.


Today is the feast of the Chair of St Peter, the apostle, and the readings focus on this particular quality of leadership: the much acclaimed “shepherding.” We are all called to be shepherds in one way or another and have a flock to tend to. As we celebrate this feast, we are presented with three questions:

“In what sense am I a shepherd?”

The answer is quite simple. We are called to imitate Jesus’ style of shepherding. Parents carry it on as they shepherd their kids, teachers do it as they shepherd their pupils, employers and supervisors too are in some way entrusted with this responsibility as they shepherd those who work under them, priests and religious respond to this call as they shepherd the flock that is entrusted to their care. In this way, the chain of shepherding goes on until we reach the ultimate shepherd Jesus Christ who made Peter the first shepherd of the Church.

Having answered the first question, we come to the second and more important one:

“How am I to be a shepherd in imitation of Christ?”

The answer is explicit in today’s first reading which is taken from the first letter of Peter. He says that a shepherd should look after his sheep not from a mere sense of duty but rather with love. If the leader who is a shepherd takes care of the sheep and becomes an example, then all will imitate him, and this will eventually make many more imitators of Christ, the supreme shepherd over all.

In today’s gospel we see Jesus choosing Peter as the leader of his Church. Jesus entrusts him with the responsibility of taking care of the Church as he himself would! In this way each of us are called to imitate Jesus’ style of shepherding – as he has shepherded us. This brings us to the third and most important question:

“Am I ready to imitate Christ’s style of shepherding?”

The Good Shepherd is waiting for our answer.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22:1-6 The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

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