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. Jul 2020 .
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Doctrines & Morals

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Acts 2:1-11, 2 Tim. 4:6-8.27-18, 16:13-19. Peter and Paul, different personalities, but united in their love and suffering for Jesus. Formerly called Simon, Peter was renamed because he became the rock of faith, while Paul had his pride transformed into humility. Peter and Paul were shaken out of their early paths and invited to follow Jesus and lead the Church in its beginning, through the way of the Cross. The Apostles we celebrate today had intimate and personal experience of God in Jesus, which enabled them to witness to Him before the whole world and withstand persecution and martyrdom. They were certain that the Lord was with them and worked in and through them always. While today's Gospel associates teaching authority with Peter, the second reading associates preaching with Paul, as Paul refers to the Lord as the one who gave him power, so that through him the whole message might be preached for all the pagans to hear.

Paul was the great preacher of the Gospel to the pagans throughout the Roman Empire. He preached it for the last time further west, in the city of Rome, where, like Peter, he was martyred for his faith in Christ, where he established the conviction of his faith: “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith.” The image of the fight and race suggest that “keeping the faith” was a struggle for Paul; it was not easy for him, just as keeping the faith was not easy for Peter either. Peter and Paul are models of what it means to be good followers of Jesus. What singled Peter out from the other disciples was his God-given insight into the identity of Jesus. It was because of his unique insight that Jesus gives Peter a unique role among the disciples. He is to be the rock, the firm foundation, on which Jesus will build His Church. Peter’s role is further spelt out by Jesus giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. The image of the keys suggests authority. The nature of that authority is expressed in terms of binding and loosing which is in reference to the teaching authority. Peter is being entrusted with the task of authoritatively interpreting the teaching of Jesus for other members of the Church. Celebrating these two leading apostles together is a vibrant reminder that the Church needs both the formal, enduring, Petrine, papal, canonical leadership and the more charismatic, personal and inspirational leadership provided by characters like Paul, ever ready to question old ways and seek newer forms of bringing Christ into peoples' lives.

May the Lord sustain us and obtain for us the missionary zeal of Paul and the courage of Peter which made them witnesses of Christ to the ends of the world! Amen!! Remain safe and have a productive week!!!

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