Sunday June 29, 2014
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Mass during the Day – Lectionary: 591 (NAB Readings)
This is a great treat to celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on a Sunday. Most saints get overwritten by the regular calendar of the Sunday, but these two Apostles are a little different, and hold a very important place in the Church.
The first reading from the book of Acts shows how the Apostles were continuing the same ministry of Jesus. In this story we see how the Lord allowed them to endure difficulties and persecution. At this point, Herod had killed St. James and was set on killing St Peter. Once St Peter was captured, he was kept under extra surveillance and even extra chains. Herod was very determined to make sure he killed Peter, but God had other plans. Even when it looked impossible, the prayers of the local church for Peter were heard and answered by the intervention of an angel. Most of us will probably never see an angel like St Peter did, but God will liberate us from many dangers and other situations through angels and intercession.
Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
The second reading from St Paul to the younger St Timothy, sounds like a sad farewell letter at first read. As St Paul closes out his letter to his friend, he reflects on the many ways in which his life was blessed by the Lord, and expects his martyrdom with peace. After a good run and witnessing the power of God first hand, St Paul is confident that the Lord will never abandon him as He has faithfully stood by in the past. When we look at our lives, it’s easy to see the times we gave up hope in the plan of the Lord. This reading is a good reminder that the end is worth the short difficulties.
This classic Gospel story of the identity of Jesus is a powerful passage to reflect on for the feast of these two great saints. When Jesus asks who they think He is, only Peter correctly confirms that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God. Following this affirmation, Jesus famously bestows on St Peter the office of the papacy through the symbol of the keys to the Kingdom. Even though there was probably no real keys involved, the vicar of the king traditionally and symbolically did hold the keys until the return of the king. If we ever question or doubt the Church, we can remember this passage and be confident that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
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