Feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Fêtes de Saint Pierre et St Paul

"You are Simon, son of Jonah, you will be called Peter! and on this rock I will build my Church.’
Monday 22 June 2015

Ac. 3, 1-10 Ps. 33 2 Tm 4, 6-8. 16-18 Mt. 16, 13-19

Saint Peter and Saint Paul

"’You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.; and the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.’

’Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, ’You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God! ’

From the very beginning of the Church, Christian communities chose never to separate the memory of the two Apostles Peter and Paul. Every year the liturgy celebrates their martyrdom, that is, their same witness of faith and love that they gave to Christ, going as far as pouring out their blood to remain faithful to Him. Peter and Paul have left their life’s witness, a model of a spiritual journey, for each one of us. More than ever we can be inspired by their lives if we wish to be, and in our turn, witness in truth with our life, being joyful bearers of the Good News around us. Everything began for Peter and Paul by the experience of a personal encounter with Christ. And it was this personal encounter, like a spark, that blazed in their heart and turned their life around completely.Whether it was at the side of the Sea of Galilee or on the road to Damas, on encountering Jesus they were sized by the power of Love and Truth that flowed out from His Person. When we celebrate the Paschal mystery, we take up Peter’s affirmation : ’Jesus, You are the Living God!’ He is the One who introduces us into divine filiation. The Church walks towards truth and light and pursues its course serenely, but in great fragility, on the stormy waters of the world. Fortunately, Jesus said : ’I bless you, Father, for having hidden from the wise and learned and revealing them to the little ones.’ We are these tiny little ones, poor ones, confronted with a harsh world. Hope and trust are given to us in Jesus so we can move ahead in His grace.

"Jesus replied saying ’Simon, son of Jonah, you a blessed man : because it was no human agency that revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven.’

Day by day up this faith sustained the Apostles as far as the day of their martyrdom. In following their example we grant our confidence to Jesus’ Words in the Gospel, and to the Church’s teaching. We ask for the grace of humility so that we can place ourselves entirely into the hands of the Father. Peter and Paul gave expression to the warmth of loving charity that radiated in their hearts.They let Love, that is, the Holy Spirit, speak , and they did so not only in words but most of all in acts. So Peter and Paul burned with the same Divine Love. And it was this Love that pushed them to give themselves entirely to Christ and to the Church, His Bride. The Holy Spirit is the the Spirit of the Church who submits herself to Him in constant and permanent prayer. Peter entered into his grace of choice with Jesus’ response. With Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Church is totally serene, knowing that no harm can ever happen to her. The Love shining forth from the Heart of Jesus manifests his love to her.

"So now I say to you, You are Peter and on this rock I shall build my Church; and the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven : whatever you bound on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

Jesus entrusts the Church’s Mystery to Peter, at the same time it will be crucified with him and at the same time risen with him. Each day a treasure is offered to us by the marvelous school of love that the liturgy gives to us. In a world of crisis, God’s people starts to move. With the Holy Spirit and through Christ the Son of the Living God, the powers of darkness can be overcome. For every Christian ’to live is Christ.’ ’ I achieve in my flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for his Body the Church. ’says St. Paul. To love Jesus is to love His Church and to give everything for her, with our hearts blazing with Love for Jesus and His Church. What is most extraordinary is that this wonderful spiritual communion that united Peter and Paul in Christ came about in extremely different characters and personalities. On one hand there is Peter, this simple fisherman from Galilee to whom Jesus gives the keys of the Kingdom when he professes his faith and then on the other hand there is Paul, who speaks very well, explaining clearly what the Christian faith is about, bringing it to light and making it accessible to all nations. We are introduced into the Church which already lives from the Resurrection

through Baptism, the Eucharist and Confirmation. These three Sacraments of initiation transform us in Christ.

Let us ask for the grace of gentleness and humility and hope that the Risen Lord Jesus will continue his work in us.