Tag Archives: pentecost

The Primacy of Peter

 

 

When Our Lord said to Peter, “And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” He clearly meant: “I will give you supreme authority over My Church. You shall be My representative.” The true test of loyalty to Christ is not only to believe in Him and worship Him, but to honor and obey the representatives He has chosen. Our Lord chose St. Peter as His Vicar. It is rebellion against Christ to say to Him: “I will worship You, but I will not recognize Your representative.” This is what Christians do, who deny the authority of the successor of Peter.

 

    Did Christ give special power in His Church to any one of the Apostles? –Christ gave special power in His Church to Peter, by making him the head of the Apostles and the chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church. 

  1. When Simon, led by his brother Andrew, first met Christ, Our Lord said to him: “Thou art Simon, the son of John; thou shalt be called Cephas” (John 1:42). Christ spoke in Aramaic, and the original Cephas, or “Kepha” means stone or rock, which we interpret Peter. Our Lord must have some special purpose for having Simon’s name changed, particularly as the word Kepha was never used as a proper name then. 
  2. When, at Caesarea Philippi, Peter made the memorable confession of faith in the name of the Apostles: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Christ promised to make Peter the head of His Church (Matt. 16:17-20). In reply Our Lord said: “Blessed. art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to thee, but my Father in heaven. And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
       

    1. Our Lord changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means Rock. He said that He would make Peter the Rock on which His Church should be founded. As the foundation of a building holds up, supports, and preserves the building, so Peter was to hold the same office for Christ’s Church. 
    2. Our Lord. promised to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. In ancient as well as modern times, keys are a symbol of authority. He who lawfully carries the key to a building has the right himself of entering and of admitting or excluding others. Our Lord said to all the Apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:23). But to Peter alone did Our Lord address these words: “I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

     

  3. Christ, after the Resurrection, fulfilled His promise, and appointed Peter head of the Church (John 21:15-17On the Lake of Gennesareth, “Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, dost thou love me more than these do?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, dost thou love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, dost thou love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him for the third time, “Dost thou love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee,” He said to him, “Feed my sheep.” By this Christ entrusted to Peter the whole flock, thus making him the head shepherd. The “lambs” (the weak and tender portion of the flock) are the faithful, and the “sheep” (those that nourish the lambs) are the pastors, bishops and priests. The sheep of Christ are those who submit to Him, the Good Shepherd (John 10: 14). Never did Christ say to any other Apostle: Feed My whole flock. As the shepherd is responsible for the flock, he is given authority comparable to his responsibility. 
  4. Christ also conferred on Peter special marks of distinction not conferred on the other Apostles. He gave him a new name. He chose him as a companion on the most solemn occasions. After the Resurrection, He appeared to Peter first, before showing Himself to the other Apostles. The Lord said: “Simon … I have prayed for thee that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32As with every well-regulated society, the Church needed a visible head; Christ appointed St. Peter visible head of the Church. The city has its mayor, the state its governor, the nation its President. At the head of every government is a president or king. Even in the family, the father is the head. Every corporation has a head. The Church is a visible society; that is, it is composed of human beings. It needs a head as well as any other organization. Christ is always its invisible, Head, but it needs a visible head to take His place among men.
    Did Peter actually exercise his primacy? –Yes, Peter actually exercised his primacy, and the other Apostles and the disciples recognized him as the head of the Church. 

  1. Peter’s name always stands first in the lists of Apostles; Iscariot’s is always last. St. Matthew even calls Peter the “first Apostle.” But he was neither first in age nor in election, for Our Lord had called Andrew; his elder brother, before him. He must therefore have been first in honor and authority. 
  2. It was Peter that proposed the election of another to take the place of Judas. In obedience to Peter’s advice, the Apostles put forward two among the disciples to choose from; and after praying, they chose Matthias (Acts 1:21-26). 
  3. It was Peter that preached the first sermon on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost had descended on the Apostles; they spoke so that each person present (and there were many nationalities in the crowd) heard his own language being spoken. The people were amazed; and Peter spoke (Acts 2:14-36). 
  4. It was Peter that admitted the first converts from Judaism (Acts 2:38-41), as well as from paganism (Acts 10:5).“And he (Peter) ordered them (the Gentiles) baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48). This was a thing unheard of, that the Jews, “of the Faith”, should consort with “heathen”; but Peter broke all bonds. 
  5. Peter worked the first miracleHe gave a man lame from birth the power to walk (Acts 3:6-8). 
  6. Peter meted out the first punishmentAnanias (and later his wife Sapphira) had lied and cheated; and having been rebuked by Peter, fell down dead (Acts 5: 1-6). 
  7. Peter cast out the heretic Simon Magus. This heretic had wanted to purchase the power of the Apostles of bringing down the Holy Ghost on those on whom they laid hands (Acts 8:19-20). 
  8. Peter made the first visitation of the churches (Acts 31-32). 
  9. In the first Council at Jerusalem, there was much disputing, but when Peter spoke, all submitted (Acts 15:7-12).“After a long debate, Peter got up and said, … ‘But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus’ … Then the whole meeting quieted down” (Acts 15:7, 11-12). 
  10. After his conversion, St. Paul presented himself to Peter (Gal. 1: 18) . 
  11. Of the early churches established by the Apostles, the Church of Rome was the highest in rank. It was the See of Peter.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!


​The Holy Ghost

Eighth Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

“And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak” (Acts 2:1-4).

    Who is the Holy Ghost? –The Holy Ghost is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

     

  1. Christ often spoke of the Holy Ghost.

    One of the most solemn occasions was when He Charged the Apostles: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

     

  2. On certain occasions, the Holy Ghost appeared in visible form. When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. On Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended with a mighty rushing wind, and rested over the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.

    These signs are symbolic of the action of the Holy Ghost. The form of a dove symbolizes the gentleness with which the Holy Spirit works in our souls. The rush of wind represents the strengthening of the will. The fire representszeal, fervor, and the illumination of the mind.

     

  3. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    This does not mean that the Holy Ghost began to exist later in time than the Father and the Son. He proceeded from them from all eternity; He is to them as warmth is to fire, existing and proceeding at the same time. There can be no fire without warmth; if there were an eternal fire, there would be an eternal warmth. So since there are the eternal Father and Son, there is the eternal Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the eternal, mutual love that the Father and Son bear each other; but instead of being mere feeling, He is a Person, a Being, God.

     

  4. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.

    True God as the Father and the Son are, the Holy Ghost is eternal, all-knowing, almighty. The Third Person is called Holy Spirit, from the Latin word spiritus, a breath. He was breathed forth by the Father and the Son. In English we also call Him Holy Ghost. Other names used to refer to the Holy Ghost are: Advocate, Paraclete, Consoler, Comforter, Substantial Love, Spirit of Truth, etc.

    What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind? –The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life, and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.

     

  1. Although all Divine works depend on all Three Persons, we attribute the work of sanctification to God the Holy Ghost, because He is the oneness of love of the Father and the Son, and the sanctification of man by grace reveals that boundless love.

    “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

     

  2. After Baptism, we have the Holy Ghost in our hearts and He remains with us as long as we have no mortal sin on our souls. This is the gift of “sanctifying grace”.

    Then we say that the Spirit of God dwells in us. We should therefore treat our body with great reverence, for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is given in a very special manner in the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders.

     

  3. The Holy Ghost is the source of the life of the Church. He consoles, guides, and imparts strength to it, as Christ promised.

    “The Church was filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:31). “Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth” (John 16:12-13).

    When was the dwelling of the Holy Ghost first visibly manifested in the Church? –The dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Church was first visibly manifested on Pentecost Sunday, when He came down upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.

    After the Ascension, the Apostles together with the blessed Virgin and disciples, men and women, numbering about 120 persons, gathered in the Cenacle, the upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper had been taken. There they spent the time in prayer, awaiting the fulfillment of Our Lord’s promise: “Wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

     

  1. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Ghost to the Apostles. He said at the Last Supper: “It is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7) . On Pentecost, ten days after the Ascension, the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles and disciples.

    On Pentecost three thousand members were baptized after the preaching of St. Peter. Many believed, because the Apostles had the “gift of tongues’ that is, they spoke in one language, but those of different races who listened heard what was said in their own different languages.

     

  2. We celebrate the descent of the Holy Ghost today as Pentecost Sunday, ten days after Ascension Thursday, fifty days after Easter. Pentecost means fifty.

    The nine days in the Cenacle while the Apostles and disciples waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit were spent in prayer, the first novena in the Church. “All these with one mind continued steadfastly in prayer with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14). In imitation of that first novena, it is our custom today to make novenas especially in preparation for great feasts. We also make novenas of petition or thanksgiving.

    How long will the Holy Ghost dwell in the Church? –The Holy Ghost will dwell in the Church until the end of time.

    “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17)

     

  1. The Holy Ghost watches over the Church, protecting it from destruction. From the beginning the Church spread very rapidly. At the death of the Apostles, in spite of persecutions, it was known in all parts of the then civilized world. Thence it has spread to the ends of the earth.

    St. Paul could say: “Yes, indeed, their voice has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18).

     

  2. The Holy Ghost gave testimony of Christ, and strengthened the Apostles to give testimony of Christ.

    Our Lord said, “But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me. And you also bear witness” (John 15:26,27). By His descent, the Holy Ghost proved that all Jesus Christ had said and done was true, that He was indeed the Son of God. After the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles gave testimony of Christ by going all over the world, (Acts 1:8), preaching and suffering for Christ, meeting death joyfully (Acts 5:41; Rom. 8:18) , saying, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!