Today, I'm thinking about the parallels between Old Testament figure Abraham and New Testament figure Peter.
Both were called to leave everything and to follow a promise.
Both were asked to lead the way for those who would come after them.
Both of them were given new names. Abram ("exalted father") became Abraham ("father of nations"). Simon ("he has heard") became Peter ("the rock").
Both stand at the beginning of a new work. When the Hebrew people identified their God, they called that God the God of Abraham (1st), Isaac (2nd), and Jacob (3rd). The people of the New Covenant know that their faith was received first by Peter, then Linus, Anacletus, Clement and so on until Pope Benedict XVI (Papal List).
In the Old Testament, Abraham is recognized as father Abraham. In the New Testament, Simon is raised to the Seat of Peter and becomes Papa, the first Pope, or father. In the Gospels, Peter is always listed first when the disciples are named. Incidentally, Judas Iscariot (who betrayed Jesus) is always listed last.
So today, as I'm thinking about the similarities between these two biblical figures, who stand at the beginning of a great work of God, and who were given a new name that recognized their new position in the plan of Salvation . . . I am thinking of Pope Benedict XVI.
Our Papa. Our Father. The one who leads the way for those of us who remain. And I encourage you to begin a Novena today, like many of the faithful, for the Holy Father's visit to the UK.
From the Magnificat booklet:
God of truth and love, your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light to all who seek you with a sincere heart.
As we strive with your grace to be faithful in word and deed, may we reflect the kindly light of Christ and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.
We pray for Pope Benedict and look forward with joy to his forthcoming visit to our countries. May he be a witness to the unity and hope which is your will for all people.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church pray for us.
St Andrew pray for us.
St George pray for us.
St David pray for us.
(This Novena is posted on the Catholic Herald (UK) website as well.)