When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
In the next days and weeks, the successor of St. Peter will be chosen to lead the Catholic Church forward. This new Pope will be like Peter in many ways – scared, flawed and unsure of himself. But he will also be full of great faith and ready for God to lead him and the Church. The new Pope will automatically be known world-wide and will leave the life he knew to accept this great position with God’s blessing. His life will never be the same.
Let us pray for him and for Pope Benedict XVI who led the Church with wisdom, compassion and insight. Benedict had an impossible job to begin with – being the next Pope after the amazing Blessed John Paul II. What shoes to try to fill! Yet, Benedict was a great example of holiness and service to the Lord, accepting the Papacy even though it has been well documented that he didn’t want the job. But, he obeyed the Lord and served wonderfully. God bless him on his retirement and in the years to come.
May our next Pontiff be a man of grace, humility, wisdom and love for the Church and its people.