FEAST OF THE APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL
I Reading: Acts 12:1-11: Herod arrested Peter, but an angel released him from his chains, leading him out of prison and into freedom.
II Reading: 2 Tim 4:6-8.17-18: Paul tells us that he has fought the good fight and finished the race. Now only martyrdom awaits him.
Gospel: Mt 16:13-19: When Jesus asked the disciples what identity people attributed to him, Peter answered on behalf of the Church that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We celebrate today the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul. Let us thank God for these two apostles the light and strength they needed to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout their life-time, and witnessed to Christ at their death through their shedding of their blood. Both were executed in Rome around the year 67 A.D., that is, some 35 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
These two saints are known as the “Pillars of the Church.” The Church of Christ is built by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ), by the blood of the martyrs and believers. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus fixed his eyes on him and said “You are Simon, son of John; you are to be called Cephas, which means a rock (Jn 1:42).” In today’s Gospel Jesus confirmed and strengthened the faith of Peter and gave him the power and authority to carry out the mission of Christ and nothing should destroy or diminish the mission of Christ while proclaiming the Good News of Christ.
Simon Peter was an ordinary person and illiterate (Jewish mission) where as Paul was the highly educated person (Gentile mission). Both invested their whole energy in Christ and loved him so much and followed him immediately till the end of their lives even unto death. Even persecution and opposition did not stop them spreading the Gospel of Christ. Although they had lots of differences and contrasting characters, still they worked together (Unity) and preached the Good News to the people (diversity) and continued the mission of Christ with a missionary zeal (universal mission for the salvation of souls).
No persecution can destroy the Church; whereas the lack of unity and integrity can destroy the lives of the faithful in the church.
Let us ask for God’s grace to strengthen our faith in Christ and imbibe the spirit of these two saints to continue the mission of Jesus Christ despite persecution, rejection, opposition and temptations in our lives.