Yesterday was the Feast of the Chair of Peter in the liturgical calendar. It seems like a strange feast day to many. After all, how can you pray for a piece of furniture? Actually, the feast did develop from the very early days of Christianity to commemorate the actual chair used by St. Peter at his first service in Rome on February 22.
But maybe it is easier for us to think of the role of the person who sat in the chair rather than placing importance on the chair itself. CEO’s are given an awful lot of time, money and attention in our society these days. The chairmen/women of boards of companies speak with authority for their organizations. The person who sits at the head of the table is generally accepted as the head of the house, committee or organization. So it has come to be for the one who sits in the Chair of Peter.
We see that through the centuries popes come and popes go (mostly involuntarily until Pope Benedict XVI). But the Church, the living Body of Christ in the world continues on. Popes have come in all kinds of shapes, ages, colors and sizes. And we are all waiting to see who this next pope will be. The music stops, someone new takes the chair. And the suspense of who gets to sit there is captivating the world’s imagination once again for a little while.