The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul


Acts 12:1-11, 2 Tim. 4:6-8.17-18, Mt. 16:13-19. The two saints whose lives we celebrate today reminds us of the power of God to transforming and redirecting our lives. The personal lives of Peter and Paul were completely changed as they encountered Christ. The twists and turns of their lives, especially their conversions, is a great sign of hope for us that every sinner has a future with God. Celebrating these two leading foundational “Pillars of the Church” in a single ceremony is a vibrant reminder that the Church needs both the enduring, Petrine, papal, canonical leadership and the more charismatic, personal and inspirational leadership provided by Paul. Ever ready to question old ways and zealous to seek newer forms of bringing Christ into people’s lives. What singled Peter out from the other disciples was his God-given insight into the identity of Jesus. It was because of his unique insight that Jesus gave Peter a unique role among the Apostles. He is to be the rock, the firm foundation, on which Jesus will build His Church. Peter’s role is further spelt out by Jesus giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. By handing over the keys to Peter, Jesus does not charge him to be the doorkeeper of paradise or ‘to lord it’ over others, instead, Jesus enjoined him to “become an example to the flock” (1 Pet. 5:3). He entrusted him to open wide to all the entrance to the knowledge of Christ and of His Gospel.

The image of binding and loosing refers to decisions on moral choices. To bind meant to prohibit; to lose was to declare licitly. It also indicated the power to judge or condemn people’s behaviour and thus to admit or exclude them from the community. If today's Gospel associates teaching authority with Peter, today's second reading associates preaching with Paul who referred to the Lord as one who gave him power, so that through him the whole message might be preached for all the pagans to hear. Paul was the great preacher of the Gospel to the pagans throughout the Roman Empire. He preached it for the last time further west, in the city of Rome, where, like Peter, he was martyred for his faith in Christ as he noted: “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.” The image of the fight and the race suggest that “keeping the faith” was a struggle for Paul; it did not come easy to him, for his blood “is being poured as a libation and the moment of his departure has come”. He does not talk about death but of a departure for a long-awaited goal. Keeping the faith does not always come easy to any of us. Paul’s letters show that he was very aware that keeping the faith was not due primarily to his own efforts; it was the Lord who enabled him to keep the faith. As he says: “the Lord stood by me and gave me power.” It is the Lord who empowers us to keep the faith; His faithfulness to us enables us to be faithful to Him; His faithful love encourages us to keep returning to Him even after our failure. The faithful witness of Peter and Paul speak to us ultimately of the Lord’s faithfulness to us all.

May the Lord who drew Peter back after he denied Jesus, draws us to His love and may whatever we have done in the past, keep us close to His merciful love! Amen!! Good morning and have a wonderful day!!!

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