What Does The First Pope’s First Encyclical Say to Catholics Today?

Peter originally wrote First Peter as a circular letter (which is what “encyclical” means) to a group of churches in Asia Minor in the first century. Their world passed away long ago, but this bright yet sober letter continues to speak to us as the living word of God twenty centuries later. First Peter speaks to us in at least four distinct ways. [Read more…]

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, commenting on 1 Peter 4:16:

But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. Here Peter restates what he just said about being “insulted for the name of Christ,” but now he uses the term “Christian” to identify those who are suffering. Apart from two appearances in Acts (11:26; 26:28) this is the only occurrence of the term “Christian” in the New Testament. It is likely that “Christian” was originally a term of derision and abuse employed by those who opposed Christ’s followers. But now, Peter says, it is to be received “without shame.” When we are abused and reviled as Christians, that is, as followers of Christ, then in fact we are bringing glory to God (see 4:11).

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, reflecting on 1 Peter 3:15-17:

Peter qualifies how we are to give our explanation to enquirers, urging us to do so with gentleness and reverence. Why these qualities? Probably because Peter expects that non-Christians will often question Christians with an aggressive and even harsh tone (note the term “malign” in the next verse). The world of the first century was generally not friendly toward Christian beliefs and practices. But rather than responding aggressively or even harshly, Christians are to “turn the other cheek” (see Matt 5:39), so to speak, by answering harshness with gentleness, and to do so with reverence for the Lord. Not only does this reflect the spirit of Christ himself; it is also evangelistically effective. The goal is not to proclaim our faith in order to win an argument, but to win others to the faith (3:1) by a gentle and persuasive word.

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, commenting on 1 Peter 2:6-8:

Peter shows that Jesus is the “stone” promised in the Scriptures, rejected by the leaders of Israel who put him to death (see Acts 4:10–11) but raised up to become the cornerstone of God’s house. The key issue is faith. For those who have faith, the stone established by the Father is “precious,” but to those without faith, this stone becomes a cause of stumbling and falling. What does it mean to stumble in this context? They stumble because they disobey the word, that is, they do not believe and obey the gospel (note the contrast with “obedience to the truth” in 1:22).

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, reflecting on 1 Peter 2:21-25:

Peter’s magnificent account of Christ in these verses is really a commentary on Christ’s own words, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Some scholars have called this Peter’s “Servant Christology.” By this they mean that Peter sees Jesus primarily through the lens of his voluntary suffering that brought about our salvation, and this is why Isa 53 is so crucial to Peter’s portrait of Jesus here. This is true but does not go far enough. Peter does not stop with painting a portrait of Christ that we can peer at from a safe distance. He also calls us to follow Christ’s example and walk in his steps, thus laying the foundation for the imitation of Christ as an essential element in Christian spirituality.

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Third Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, commenting on 1 Peter 1:18:

Peter asks his hearers to recall that they were ransomed in Christ. “Ransom,” or “redemption,” is drawn from the marketplace, where goods or slaves were “bought back” for a monetary price. Notably, the Old Testament often depicts God’s deliverance of Israel from the land of Egypt in terms of ransom or redemption: “I am the *Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment” (Exod 6:6, RSV).

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Reflecting on 1 Peter for the Second Sunday of Easter

From First and Second Peter, Jude (Coming November 2011) by Daniel Keating, commenting on 1 Peter 1:6-7:

Peter introduces a profound paradox: the presence of inexpressible joy in the midst of suffering. He says first that we rejoice in this living hope, which is our salvation, present and future. Who would not rejoice? But then he tells us that now we must be ready to suffer through various trials, even if only for a little while.

Using a metaphor found frequently in the Old Testament (Job 23:10; Prov 17:3; Wis 3:5-7; Zech 13:9), Peter compares the testing of our faith to the purification of gold by fire. The sentence structure is difficult to follow, but the point of the comparison is perfectly clear. If gold, the most precious of earthly substances, requires purification, how much more does our faith—more precious than any earthly gold—benefit from the purifying fire of our trials. “For in fire is gold tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation” (Sir 2:5).

© 2011 Daniel Keating and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.