At the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, there are many things we can consider. We can meditate on how St. Paul was able to correct St. Peter in charity; we can think about St. Peter’s journey and our Lord’s call, and how he was crucified upside down. Or how St. Paul had persecuted and killed Christians, then later how Christ Himself appeared to him and converted him.
The hierarchy of the Church gets its power from the keys given to St. Peter. But Christ didn’t just invent the keys of the kingdom when St. Peter professed his faith. These keys existed way before. When the people no longer wanted God as their king, they asked to be given a human king. So He gave them Saul. Then Saul failed, so He had David anointed King while Saul still ruled. The keys go back to the kingdom of David who prefigured Christ and was anointed with God’s own Kingship.
In Christ, God gives us a human King again, but one who is also divine. Then He gives these same keys to St. Peter, with this difference: unlike David, the office and keys of St. Peter come with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit preserves the Church from error. If Christ did not give the Holy Spirit to St. Peter and his successors, then the Church could not be one and holy.
But it’s interesting how David treated Saul. Saul tried to kill David. If David killed Saul, it seems that he would be killing him out of self defense. Also, David was anointed king
which would seem to take away Saul’s kingship. But every time David could have killed Saul, he didn’t, saying that he would not lay his hands on the Lord’s anointed. He even killed the man who admitted to killing Saul, and the other man who admitted to killing a member of Saul’s family.
We ought to have that sort of reverence for the Holy Father. In Christian charity, we are called to assume the best intentions with people. For the pope, the vicar of Christ, the Lord’s anointed,
we do not hesitate to put our hands on him with our words. If we were to really search for the reasons why we or others do it, I think eventually we would discover fear and a lack of faith in God. If we really felt that the pope needed to be corrected for something like St. Paul did with St. Peter, we should write him a letter, because he can’t hear all of the things we say behind his back. But why are we afraid? Why do we feel wronged, or that there is some injustice going on?
God is our King. And the Holy Spirit is protecting and guiding His representative on earth.
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