Saturday, June 28, 2014
Solemnity, Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles
[Solemnity, Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles]
Vigil: Acts 3: 1-10/ Ps 19: 2-3, 4-5/ Gal 1: 11-20 / Jn 21: 15-19
Day: Acts 12: 1-11/ Ps 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9/ 2 Tm 4: 6-8, 17-18/ Mt 16: 13-19
First Reading: Acts 12: 1-11
About that time King Herod decided to persecute some members of the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword, and when he saw how it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This happened during the festival of the Unleavened Bread. Herod had him seized and thrown into prison with four squads, each of four soldiers, to guard him. He wanted to bring him to trial before the people after the Passover feast, but while Peter was kept in prison, the whole Church prayed earnestly for him. On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound by a double chain, while guards kept watch at the gate of the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there and a light shone in the prison cell. The angel tapped Peter on the side and woke him saying, "Get up quickly!" At once the chains fell from Peter's wrists. The angel said, "Put on your belt and your sandals." Peter did so, and the angel added, "Now, put on your cloak and follow me." Peter followed him out; yet he did not realize that what was happening with the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard and then the second and they came to the iron door leading out to the city, which opened itself for them. They went out and made their way down a narrow alley, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, "Now I know that the Lord has sent his angel and has rescued me from Herod's clutches and from all that the Jews had in store for me."
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 17-18
As for me, I am already poured out as a libation, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with which the Lord, the just judge, will reward me on that day; and not only me, but all those who have longed for his glorious coming. But the Lord was at my side, giving me strength to proclaim the Word fully, and let all the pagans hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will save me from all evil, bringing me to his heavenly kingdom. Glory to him for ever and ever. Amen!
Gospel: Matthew 16: 13-19
After that Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of man is?" They said, "For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Jesus asked them, "But you, who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven."
Today we remember two apostles, both martyred in Rome. Simon (Peter) from Galilee, married, chosen by Jesus to be his disciple. He was the brother of Andrew, who introduced him to Jesus. Paul, who replaced Judas Iscariot, was from Tarsus and educated as a Pharisee. He was called the apostle of the Gentiles. Both Peter and Paul played very important roles in the history of the Church. Peter had an experience with Jesus because they worked together for many years until his death. But Paul never had a chance to be with Jesus. It was only after his conversion that he became the strongest and bravest defender of the Risen Jesus.
In the Gospel, Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They answered, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or some other prophets." Jesus was not happy with the answer and asked them directly, "But for you, who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." Upon hearing this, Jesus said, "I am going to build my Church upon Peter as upon a rock." Jesus also gave Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and "whatever you prohibit on earth will also be prohibited in heaven." Lucky Peter! It was his recognition of Jesus as the Son of God that he became such a privileged follower of Jesus.
On the other hand, Paul's conversion was some kind of a flash of lightning that blinded him. Then he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" "Who are you, Lord?" He asked. "I am Jesus, whom you persecute. But get up and go into the city where you must be told what you must do." Saul was blind for three days and through the help of Ananias, his sight was restored. Paul was baptized and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Strength restored, he started to preach that Jesus is the Son of God. Paul concentrated his work with the Gentiles and soon the number of converts grew.
We celebrate today the greatness of these two apostles, one, the Head of the Church and the other, the faithful defender of Jesus Christ. Peter and Paul were not saints when they answered the call of Jesus; in fact, they were also sinners and they made a lot of mistakes just like us. Peter even denied Jesus Christ to save himself. He abandoned Jesus in his last days. He said that he would give his life for Jesus, but when he was confronted with the reality of life, he cowered. Paul, on the other hand, tortured and persecuted the Christians. But in the end Peter and Paul were humble enough to admit their weaknesses and worked very hard to build a church by converting thousands of people to Christ and shepherding the flock assigned to them by Jesus Christ. Peter became the first Pope and guided the Church to its fruition. Paul, by his dedication to Jesus, continued his work with zeal.
At this moment in our life, how much do we know about Jesus and what he has done and is doing for us? Can we say that we know him well and that we can die for him? Can we work like St. Paul and St. Peter to be able to affect change in the lives of other people? If we can say yes, then let us put all our efforts to be a worthy disciple like Peter and Paul.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for the birthday intentions of Sammy Tocino
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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