Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bishop’s Note: June 30, 2016 - St. Peter’s Day

Bishop Eric Menees

“O almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandest him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The above collect, from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, commemorates the Feast of St. Peter (later changed to the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul), which was celebrated yesterday, June 29th. 

Of the apostles, Saint Peter is my favorite, in that he is so easy to identify with. How many times does Peter blurt out what is on his heart and mind, and end up by putting his foot in his mouth?! (“Let us build three booths! Mt. 17:4; “Lord I am prepared to go to prison with you and to death.” Lk. 22:33)  I can relate with that sort of thing, as I do so on a regular basis – just ask my staff!

At the same time, St. Peter speaks from his soul as well; and when he doe, we hear him echoing the Holy Spirit. Remember in the fifth chapter of Luke, when Jesus calls the first disciples? Peter, James, and John were fishing all night with some others, but caught nothing. Jesus comes to them and tells them to go out fishing again. For reasons that can only be attributed to divine prompting, they set out and cast their nets again, this time hauling in a catch so great, they can hardly lift it into the boat. Peter responds: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8) When we come into the presence of the Lord, we recognize in his brilliance our own dimness; or said another way, his righteousness and our sinfulness!

Likewise, as we were reminded a couple of weeks ago in the ninth chapter of Luke, when Jesus asks the disciples: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:18-20) Peter hears and acknowledges the speculation of the crowds, but answers faithfully and truly – THE CHRIST OF GOD!

My prayer for the Diocese of San Joaquin and for all Christians, is that we will all follow the example of St. Peter and step out in faith, recognizing both our need for forgiveness, and the only one who is able to grant that forgiveness - the Christ of God!

My prayer for my brother bishops and fellow clergy is that we might be filled with the boldness of St. Peter, exhibiting a missionary zeal and an apostle's heart for seeking the lost and alone with the saving message of Jesus Christ that we call The Good News!

I pray you all a very blessed week!

Catechism Questions: 305-308

305. Is your anger always sinful, or can it be just?
Anger can be just if I am motivated not by fear, pride, or revenge, but purely by love for God’s honor and my neighbor’s well-being. More often than not, however, human anger is sinful. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

306. What other actions may be considered forms of murder?
Suicide, abortion, genocide, infanticide, and euthanasia are forms of murder. Related sins include abuse, abandonment, recklessness, and hatred or derision.

307. Is it always wrong to harm or kill another?
There are rare times when the claims of justice, mercy, and life itself may require doing harm or even bringing death to others. It is the particular task of government to do this in society. (Romans 13:1-4)

308. How else can you cause life to flourish?
As a witness to the Gospel, I can love God and my neighbor by refraining from selfish anger, insults, and cursing, by defending the helpless and unborn, by rescuing those who damage themselves, and by helping others to prosper. (Matthew 5:38-48; 9:35-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 10:34-42; Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-2)

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