O ALMIGHTY God, who by your Son Jesus Christ did give to your Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commanded him earnest to feed your flock; Make, we beseech you, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach your holy Word, and your people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Acts 4:8-13; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Matthew 16:13-19
This story from the Gospel reading fits neatly into the Epiphany theme, as Peter’s remarkable confession concerning the divinity of Jesus was met with the assurance, “this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven.” Jesus then entrusted Peter with authority to be a shepherd in the Church, which would later be expanded to the rest of the Apostles and spelled out in more detail. Peter continued to preach salvation in the name of Christ, as the reading from Acts demonstrates, and towards the end of his life wrote advice to other bishops (or “overseers”) concerning godly leadership. So even as we pray Psalm 23 and rejoice in Jesus as our good shepherd, we also pray in the Collect that our bishops and pastors, as the under-shepherds of Christ, would be the godly leaders that they are called to be so that the whole Church can benefit.