ACTS 12:1-11; PSALM 34; 2TIMOTHY 4:6-8, 17-18; MATTHEW 16:13-19
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a liturgical celebration in honour of the martyrdom saints Peter and Paul. This solemnity is celebrated on the 29th day of June every year. These two great saints exist in numerous ways in the Church today. They are one of the most endearing characters in the New Testament. The readings today provide us with further lessons from their lives. While the first reading and the gospel focused on Peter the second reading presents us with Paul’s mission. Let us look at them systemically.
St. Peter: Peter was formerly called Simon. Christ gave him the name Cephas or Peter. The change of name reflects Peter’s mission and office. Similarly, the names we bear at our baptism are simply marks of our new identity, mission and purpose. Therefore, we must make effort to live up to our calling. Again, Peter suffered so much for the sake of Christ. The first reading speaks of his release from prison – a release that took place due to the people’s prayer. We must not cease to pray for our spiritual leaders. Our prayers for them can help them beyond imaginations. In the Gospel, authority was bestowed on Peter as the head of the Church. What is your assignment in the body of Christ? How do you measure up with the responsibility given to you? Lastly, Peter was a man who never pretended over his strengths and weaknesses. If we must grow we must be open to formation. The Church is a place of formation – true Christians must be open. Do not deny your weaknesses; they do not disqualify you rather they open to God’s grace and transformation.
St. Paul: Despite not being one of the disciples, Paul’s influence looms over the early church. Out of the 27 books in the New Testament, Paul wrote 13. He was greatly responsible for the spread of the gospel. Like Peter, Paul also had change of name after his conversion. He suffered many hardships for the sake Christ. In the second reading Paul said “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish.” This means that he has tried very hard to do what is right; it means he has maintained a godly character even in forbidding and hostile circumstances; it means he has rejected error and pursued righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Beloved, we are challenged to maintain a godly character amidst the hostilities, immoralities and lust of our world. We must fight against oppression, bribery and corruption. Paul was an ardent missionary and a great preacher. Let us express Christ in all ramifications. Therefore, today’s celebration should cause a reawakening in our spirits and foster a revival in our dispositions towards God and his Church.
LET US PRAY
Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we may be sustained by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, that, as through them you gave your Church the foundations of her heavenly office, so through them you may help her to eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.