Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – June 29th

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Saint Peter and  Saint Paul- Martyrs of the Faith

Today’s feast commemorates the martyrdom of two of our greatest saints….Peter and Paul….two men who were the principle pillars of the Catholic Faith. In his 2005 Homily of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI said:

“The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is at the same time a grateful memorial of the great witnesses of Jesus Christ and a solemn confession for the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. It is first and foremost a feast of catholicity. …Catholicity does not only express a horizontal dimension, the gathering of many people in unity, but also a vertical dimension: it is only by raising our eyes to God, by opening ourselves to him, that we can truly become one.” 

Both saint Peter and Saint Paul are celebrated on individual feasts, earlier in the year, but this Solemnity celebrates how both of these men, with the help of the Holy Spirit and guidance from Jesus, were able to overcome their weaknesses…By allowing the Lord to work through them… they were able to do the Will of God…and build His Church by spreading the Catholic Faith throughout  the lands. In Peter and Paul we find men who were flawed and struggled with their own weaknesses and sinful pasts; yet, once God chose them for their task, they were each given the courage and the grace needed in order to overcome their difficulties and join Christ in His suffering and offer themselves as martyrs for the Faith. Marveling at what these two men were able to accomplish, it is no wonder that it is Paul’s words that we read in Philippians 4:13: “ I can do all things in Christ, Who strengthens me.” Church father St Augustine of Hippo wrote in a sermon in 395 AD of the pair:

Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.’

Let us Pray…

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,

that we may be sustained

by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul,

that, as through them you gave your Church

the foundations of her heavenly office,

so through them you may help her to eternal salvation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 

who lives and reigns with you

   in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 

     one God, for ever and ever. –

      Source: Roman Missal

 

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