Today we celebrate the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. We celebrate them together because of their leadership in the early Church and the foundation they set for the Church as we know it today. As the opening prayer at Mass says today, Peter and Paul are examples of noble and holy joy.
In the Gospel today, we hear Peter’s confession of faith in the divinity of Christ. He says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms the faith of Peter by telling him, “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Even after this, though, Peter denies Christ three times as Christ is suffering in order to redeem us from our sins (Matthew 27:69-75). Peter, although imperfect in his faith, is still of the foundation upon which the Church is built because he repented and then continued to follow Christ. The First Reading from Acts of the Apostles recounts Peter’s time as a prisoner under the rule of Herod and we hear that he is rescued by an angel. The Responsorial Psalm then reminds us that, “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.” During his imprisonment, Peter took refuge in the Lord and by his faith was saved.
In the Second Reading, we hear St. Paul’s own words as he writes to Timothy. Paul, knowing the imminence of his martyrdom writes, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” Despite being perhaps only mere days away from his martyrdom, Paul’s tone is one of joy and hope in the Lord. He acknowledges that the work he has put into evangelizing the Gentiles was not done by his own merit, but only through His faith in the Lord. Paul knows that his martyrdom, along with his life, will serve as a witness to others and in that he finds true joy and hope.
The solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul reminds us that God calls the imperfect to do His will. It is by the faith of those who willingly conform their will to His that the Church exists and that more people continue to come to the faith.
May we be imitators of the noble and holy joy of Sts. Peter and Paul. May we strive to have the faith of martyrs and live our lives with faith in Christ.
Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.
Feature Image Credit: falco, 5412 images, https://pixabay.com/photos/barcelona-cathedral-spain-4298069/