It is 28th June 2020. We are celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles in the Vicariate and it’s the feast day of the Custody named after their names. The readings are from Acts 12:1-11; the second reading is 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18; and the Gospel from Matthew 16:13-19.
Saints Peter and Paul are the models of faith and faithfulness, witness and witnessing, love and longing for God for every missionary disciple of Christ.
St. Peter witnessed Jesus personally and emulated the Lord with all his inconsistent, and simple demonstration yet firm and convincing faith in Jesus. He was radical and sensitive in approaching people. Even though he was a spokesperson for the apostles yet he was humble to express his love for Jesus in an unassuming way. Whether in confessing his faith in Jesus as Christ, or in the times of being confronted by Jesus, he remained the first choice of Jesus to lead the others. Jesus found something special in his faith, witness, love and obedience. Unifying energy of the Church as a person when he lived and now the invisible and powerful intercessor for the unity of the church at large.
The first reading presents us how God cared for His servant Peter by releasing him from the prison through the prayers of the Christian community and divine protection.
The responsorial Psalm praises, “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.” (Ps.34:5).
We have a personal testimony of St. Paul as he faced death and imprisonment in the second reading as a proclaimer, missionary and witnessing disciple of the Lord. St. Paul’s contribution to the building and spreading the Good News of the Lord through his erudition, example, enlightenment from his personal encounter with Jesus by being an apostle of the Gentiles was remarkable. His missionary journeys had the tone of love, faith, and total focus on the Lord. “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” (2 Tim.4:17). His martyrdom is the act of worship offered to the Lord whom he loved till the end.
God accompanied them both to achieve for the Church and the people of God. Truth and love for which these two heroes stood for till the end will never go in vain. The powers of the world repeated try to suppress the voices of truth, love and justice all around the world. Martyrdom of Peter and Paul reminds us that truth prevails in the life and death of the ones who are faithful to God. The confession of Peter and the proclamation of Paul are the source and strength of the Church time immemorial. The insights and inspiration are drenching the hearts of the believers like us even today.
In the Gospel, Jesus expresses His intention of building the community with the foundation of faith of Peter and his public confession that Jesus is the Christ. “And so, I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Mt.16:18). This is the only place Jesus openly expresses His desire to build His Church, the community of believer under the leadership of Peter. Jesus gave power to Peter proclaiming authoritatively the Gospel and to impose or lift bans of excommunication. The keys of God’s kingdom are entrusted to Peter alone.
As we celebrate the heroes of faith and faithfulness in loving Jesus, may we become generous missionary disciples of the Lord without any reservation. May the Holy Spirit help us to reach out to those who find it hard to connect with God through Jesus. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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