Peter and Paul are the two columns next to the cornerstone ( Jesus) of the Christian Church. On the 29th of June, we commemorate Peter and Paul , the celebration of the ancient Church of Rome, which became the mother of the Christian Church. This Church has a double foundation…The Petrine and The Pauline with a mission to Israel and the Gentiles.
Peter, whose name was Simon, was born in Bethsaida ; a fisherman by trade. At his start of his mission, Jesus walking by the lake of Galilee, called him,” Simon, come after me and I will make you a fisher of men”. Jesus immediately changed his name to Peter, meaning rock. Peter was present at the Transfiguration and we also find him in the garden of Gethsemani . Peter was the first of the apostles to witness the resurrection. He was the first to perform a miracle in the name of Jesus. To him Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom, “Upon this rock I will build my Church”.
Peter preached in Asia Minor and Anthioc, where he was acclaimed as bishop . He ended up in Rome. Tradition has it that Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in the Eternal City.
Saul of Tarsus was a roman citizen. His zeal as a Pharisee made him hate the new religion (Christianity). Saul was on his way to Damascus to apprehend Christians and put them in jail and certain death. We can say that he was a “terrorist”. At the gate of the city of Damascus he was faced with the risen Lord and it was a sudden conversion. He took the roman name of Paul, the name by which he is known. His life and conversion to Christianity is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles.
A prolific writer, Paul wrote letters to the Philipians, Romans , Galatians, Hebrews, Corintians, to the Thessalonians, Titus , Timothy and Philemon. Three times he was shipwrecked and died in Rome as a martyr. Paul is known as the apostle of the Gentiles.
On this feast, we are to remember that we too have been sent by Jesus, we are apostles. We build the Church with Christ and for Christ. As Scripture says,” We are living stones” ,
surrounding and holding on to the cornerstone, Jesus, and the pillars of the Church, the apostles . We are to be loyal by teaching or preaching not our opinion but the gospel of Jesus as it had been handed on to us. As we celebrate the feasts of Peter and Paul, we could speak of all the great sermons they preached and the miracles they performed. It’s best to be witnesses of their faith, their loyalty to Christ and his gospel which landed them in prison and eventually to martyrdom and then to the glory of heaven
Prayer:::Lord our God, encourage us through the prayers of Saints Peter and Paul.
May the apostles who strengthened the faith of the infant Church help us on
our way of salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
ever. Amen.(Bk. of Christian Prayers)
God bless you and yours. Fr. David. O.P.