The Confession of Saint Peter January 18th
by Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission
One of the important liturgical changes to the Anglican tradition has been the return of the celebration of the feast day of Confession of Saint Peter [January 18th] albeit partially to bracket with the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul [January 25th] the week of Christian prayer, but more importantly as an expression of belief in the unity the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church by recalling the words of the gospel Matthew 16: 13- 19
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." ESV
It is the profession of belief that Jesus is the Christ which leads to the granting of the power of the keys. Too often the emphasis in the Western Church's history and theology it has been on the jurisdictional powers to bind and loose, rather than the actual confession of faith by the Apostle Peter.
It is very appropriate that the ECC newsletter for January 2017 discusses the third characteristic of our church ie Roman Catholic tradition while not under Vatican jurisdiction, and what and how that relation relates on and to the meaning of MT 16 from which the issue flows theologically.
Equally the further expansion of the position with 'our Church admits a variety of practices stemming from the well-established traditions of different Churches recognized to be consistent with Roman Catholic tradition', makes this return of the feast day to the calendar for Catholics from the Anglican tradition a welcome opportunity to celebrate the faith we hold in common.
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
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