Friday, June 28, 2019
SATURDAY, 12TH Week in Ordinary Time
STS. PETER AND PAUL, Apostles
Vigil – Acts 3: 1 –10 / Gal 1: 11 – 20 / Jn 21: 15 – 19
Day – Acts 12 : 1 – 11 / 2 Tm 4: 6- 8, 17 – 18 / Mt 16: 13 – 19
Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, are the two main pillars of the Church: St. Peter as the first Bishop of Rome and St. Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles. St. Peter was martyred in Rome under Nero, crucified upside down c. 64 and St. Paul beheaded by the sword c. 67.
FROM THE 2ND READING: 2 Tm 4: 7 – 8
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.
GOSPEL READING Mt 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."
Sts. Peter and Paul were the original foundation pillars of the Church who moved the Church to become the universal Church we have today. Both died martyrs in Rome in witness to their faith in Jesus about thirty years after the death of Jesus: Peter crucified upside down where St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican stands and Paul by the sword where St.. Paul's Basilica Outside-the- Walls is.
Peter, a fisherman called by Jesus himself, was the founding Bishop of Rome and head of the Church: "You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church." Starting with ordinary Jews as the first disciples of Christ and the first members of the Church after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Church soon spread to non-Jews, to the Gentiles, under the leadership of Paul, a former fierce persecutor of the Church: "This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for my sake." (Acts 9: 15 – 16)
Though God has chosen a particular people to prepare for and receive the Messiah and his Good News, God's Good News was meant for all mankind of all times and places.
These two pillars of the Church had their distinct personalities and gifts. Peter was fiery and impetuous. Though he vowed to die for Jesus, he betrayed him three times before simple maid-servants. After the resurrection, Peter re- affirmed his love and devotion for Christ and was given charge of the Church.
Paul, well schooled as a Pharisee in Jewish traditions, had been an ardent persecutor of the early Church. He witnessed the martyrdom of the first martyr, Stephen. Struck down from his horse and made blind, he became the zealous Apostle to the Gentiles.
Sts. Peter and Paul remind us of our own failures and deficiencies and challenge us with their zeal and love of the Lord and the Church. God calls each of us to be instruments in proclaiming the Good News to the world. We ask them to pray for us that we may live in true love and faithful service of the Lord and his Church.
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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