For the past few days the local media in St. Louis enjoyed reminding us that Winter Storm Q was on its way. Yesterday, the storm arrived and infrastructure simply shut down. Sure, the plows are still running... but, when you’re out on the street, stuck in it, it looks like nothing’s been done. A plow goes by, but a few minutes later the street’s covered again.
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. It is an opportunity for us to recognize the Petrine ministry in the Church and all that for which it stands. Today also marks less than one week before Pope Benedict XVI will step down from that chair. Meanwhile, we are well aware that the Church faces great storms from many fronts. She is battered and in some places has simply shut down. Sure, the Gospel is still preached, sins still forgiven, but on the ground sometimes it can seem like no one’s doing much of anything. Like a blanket of white across the land, the Pope’s resignation and all the trials that face the Chair of Peter can seem to shut everything down. Why bother going out? You won’t get anywhere.
Still, Jesus said to Peter: When, after awhile, you have returned to me, it is your task to strengthen your brethren (Luke 22). The tempest rages, and it may seem like it will leave nothing standing in its wake, not even Peter. Yet God himself has promised, the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. No Winter Storm Q, no dark night, no scandal, no crisis, no death, no resignation, no war, nothing can stand in the way of Christ’s Victory that has already been won.