Jesus Christ leads his Church to salvation through the Apostles and their successors
You definitely like to hike, take part in sightseeing tours. Wandering around the country, cities or mountains, usually you are accompanied by a guide. He knows the way, historic places and knows well, where to lead people. We are eager to listen to a good guide and follow his advice and instructions without hesitation. In a mountain hike, especially in its difficult parts, you must trust the guide and submit to his leadership.
The Second Vatican Council reminded us, that the entire community of the Church, God's people, he is on the way - he wanders through life to God. Who leads the pilgrim Church to the eternal homeland - to salvation ? Who can I trust, who you need to listen to, so as not to stray from the path to the Father ?
Christ makes Peter the visible shepherd of the Church
Read the following words from the Gospel of St.. Jana. Consider, what Jesus calls Peter to ? What task is he to fulfill in the Church ?
“And when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter : «Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? ? »Answered him : «Yes, Lord, You know, that I love you ". He said to him : "Feed my lambs". And again, a second time, he said to him : «Simon, son of John, do you love me ? »Replied Mu : «Yes, Lord, You know, that I love you ". He said to him : "Feed my sheep". He told him for the third time : «Simon, son of John, Do you love me?»Piotr was sad, that he told him the third time : " Do you love me ? »And he said to Him : «Lord, You know everything, You know, that I love you ". Jesus said to him :
«Feed my sheep. Verily, verily I say to you : When you were younger, you gird yourself and walked, where did you want. But when you get old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and lead you, where do you want to ». It said, to select, with what death he will glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him: «Follow me !»” (J 21, 15-19).
In the words, "Feed my sheep, feed my lambs ”Jesus entrusted Peter with the supreme authority of presiding over and leading the People of God to salvation. He called him his substitute and made him responsible for the community of believers. From now on, the task of Pio-shepherd will be to lead the whole Church to God. Peter is not only to show the faithful the way to salvation, but he himself, together with the Apostles, is to go, together with the People of God entrusted to him, to his heavenly homeland. In the name of Christ and by his power, Peter, the first pope, he will point out to the faithful, what to do, to do the Father's will. In this way, he will rule the Church - i.e.. he will lead the community of Christ to salvation.
Elsewhere in the Scriptures. we find the words, which underline Peter's role in the early Church. He speaks on the day of Pentecost and before the Sanhedrin. He is settling the case of Ananias and Sapphira. He visits churches in Judea, he welcomes the first pagan Cornelius into the Church (Dz 10). Presides over the so-called. The Council of Jerusalem (Dz 15).
The apostles, headed by Peter, direct the Church
However, Piotr never appears alone. He always works in union with the other Apostles. There were twelve of them. They, together with Piotr, constituted the so-called. College, that is, community (community) Apostles. College of the Apostles, presided over by Peter, has faithfully carried out Christ's command to teach, baptizing and guiding the faithful.
Immediately in the first days after Jesus' ascension, the Apostles choose Mathew and include him in their community. Thanks to this, he also became an Apostle of Christ.
By the order of the apostles, seven men are elected deacons, “Who enjoy a good reputation, full of Spirit and wisdom " (Dz 6, 3), that they may keep watch over the just distribution of the alms. They approve the choice made by the faithful through prayer and the laying of hands on the elect (Dz 6, 1-6). The apostles Peter and John also visit converts in Samaria, to impart the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands and prayer (Dz 8, 14-17). They send Barnabas to Antioch, to guide the religious life of the Church. Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus to Antioch and taught with him for a long time (Dz 11, 22-26).
Finally, Paul organizes religious life in the churches he founded. Teaches, what he himself learned from the Apostles about the Eucharist ; clarifies doubts ; punishes abuse in communal worship, condemns sins, orders the alms, sends students with letters, it appoints bishops and superiors in newly formed believing communities. So you see, that the Apostles were presiding over God's people, and for the settlement of all major matters, related to the apostolic ministry, they gathered together as a College, that is, the community of the Apostles led by Peter.
The Second Vatican Council reminds us, that Christ, after his resurrection, entrusted Peter to care for his Church, “Commissioning him and the rest of the Apostles, to promote and guide it… This Church established and organized in this world as a community, continues in the Catholic Church, ruled by the successor of Peter and the bishops remaining in communion with him " (KK 8).
The college of bishops serves the People of God
The same assignment, performed by the Apostles, headed by Peter, today meets the college of bishops headed by the Holy Father - the Pope. Every pope, that is, the Roman bishop, he is the successor of Peter, and the bishops succeed the apostles. They govern their dioceses, i.e.. they serve the community of believers in Christ, with them they go the same way to salvation, they serve their word and by their own life they bear witness to the living God. College, that is, the community of bishops, together with the Pope, he is responsible for the entire People of God - for the Church of Christ. The communal responsibility of bishops and the pope is manifested especially in an ecumenical council, when matters concerning the whole Church are discussed. The pope and bishops direct the religious life of the faithful. Priests collaborate with bishops and assist them in their sanctification, teaching and guiding God's people. This task rests especially with the parish priests, who work in parishes entrusted to them by bishops. The parish priests have other priests to help. Bishops headed by the Pope form the hierarchy of the Church. Their representatives in local churches are parish priests and other priests. Through their service to the People of God, Jesus Christ teaches, sanctifies and leads the Church to salvation.
The faithful not only obey the Holy Father and the bishops, but they cooperate with them through their own commitment to the cause of the community of believers. They feel co-responsible for the work of Christ, for His Church, of which they are living members. The co-responsibility of the faithful manifests itself in the initiative and concrete help for the diocese or parish. The faithful care for God's house, they rush to the aid of the poor and the lonely. They should always do all this with the consent and under the direction of the bishop or parish priest. The faithful cooperate with the parish priest in parish councils. In this way, the entire community of believers, as truly one family of God, under the guidance of the Holy Father. and bishops on the sure path to salvation - to the Father's house.
How will I answer God ?
In the name of Christ, the bishops, in union with the Holy Father. they lead all people to salvation. They are our guides and they go with us to the Father.
Now think about it ! How cooperation with your bishop should be ? Cooperation with your bishop will be manifested by joining the parish life. So what will you do ? Maybe you can take care of it, that your friend comes to catechesis, that at the Sunday Mass. the singing came out better. Or maybe you will care for someone who is sick and lonely ? (You can show your cooperation by being ready to become an altar boy, teacher. Or maybe you have a good voice, then you will report to the group, who sings during Holy Mass, that is to the so-called. scholi ?).
Pray frequently with the words of the Preface about the Apostles :
“Truly worthy and just, right and salutary, that we may give thanks to you always and everywhere, Lord, Holy Father, almighty eternal God. For you, Eternal Shepherd, you don't leave your sheepfold, but through the holy Apostles you surround her with constant protection, to be guided by these superiors, whom, as governors of your Son, you entrusted with the shepherd power ".
1. What tasks did Christ call Peter to do? ?
2. How the Acts of the Apostles tells about Peter and about the apostles who direct the church ?
3. What tasks are bishops to fulfill in the Church ?
4. What tasks do priests perform in the Church of Christ ?
5. What is every baptized person called to do? ?
84. To whom Jesus Christ has entrusted the leadership of the People of God ?
Jesus Christ entrusted the leadership of the People of God to the College of the Apostles and the College of their successors, bishops.
85. What power did Christ give to St.. Peter ?
Christ gave St.. Peter, the supreme authority in the Church, making him head of the College of the Apostles.
86. Who is the successor of St.. Peter ?
Successor of St.. Peter is a Roman bishop, that is, the pope.
■ Task :
1. Consider, how can you cooperate with your Fr.. parish priest or catechist.
2. What were the names of the last three popes and what events took place in the life of the Church during their pontificate? ?
■ Worth reading: