Memory of the apostles

Deel Op

Feast of the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul, martyrs in Rome around the years 60-70.
Remembrance of blessed Raymond Lull (1235-1316). A Catalan close to the spirit of Saint Francis, he loved the Muslims and promoted dialogue among believers.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 16,13-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But you,' he said, 'who do you say I am?' Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man! Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we celebrate the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, a feast that accompanies the almost two-thousand-year story of the Church, in particular of the Roman Church, where they witnessed to their faith in the last years of their lives till martyrdom. Tradition wants it to have occurred for both on June 29, 67. The apostle Peter was crucified on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded on the Ostiense way. Their stories as believers were different but for both the encounter with Jesus meant the change of their name and story.
Jesus called Peter while he was mending his nets along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He was a simple fisherman and yet felt the desire of a new world. As soon as Jesus called him to a greater life and to fish for people, not fish, he "immediately left his nets and followed him." We find him among the Twelve. Peter felt steady and certain of himself of this belonging. And yet, the true Peter - the disciple to whom Jesus entrusts his flock -is the one who is weak, who lets the Spirit of God touch him, and who is the first to proclaim, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God," as we read in the Gospel (Mt 16:16). The Lord made of Peter's weakness the "rock" of the spiritual building to which we all belong.
We see Paul as a young man standing near those who are stoning Stephen. He was guarding the cloaks of those who were casting the stones. He was a zealous combatant against the young Christian community, and asked to be authorized to persecute it beyond Jerusalem. But on the road to Damascus, the Lord threw him down from the horse of self-assuredness and pride. Finding himself face down in the dust, Paul raised his eyes to heaven and saw the Lord who told him: "Why do you persecute me?" Paul felt his heart touched. Tears did not flow from his eyes, but they were blinded. He allowed others to leaf him by hand to Damascus. There, after hearing the Gospel, he opened his eyes again and started preaching love for all, tearing down the walls of divisions: there was no more Jew or Greek, slave or freeperson. In today's feast the Church remembers them together, as if to hold both of their precious testimonies together in unity. With their different gifts and charisms, both marked one Church of Christ. Their characteristics are a part not only of the faith and life of the Christian community of Rome, but of the entire Church in the sense that the Catholic Church breaths with the spirit of these two witnesses: the humble and steadfast faith of Peter and the large and missionary heart of Paul. Today, when in the hearts of so many boundaries that separate us from one another are once again being drawn, their witness does not cease to preach that boundless love that alone can save our world from the sad drift of conflict into which it seems to be heading and from which the first to suffer are the poor. We need the strength of Peter's faith and the universality of Paul's faith to show everyone the way to salvation.