It is 29th June 2018. We celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. The readings are from Acts 12: 1-11; the second reading is from 2 Tim 4, 6-8. 17-18; and the Gospel from Mt 16, 13-19. We acclaim in our antiphon in the Mass, “Peter the Apostle, and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles, these have taught us your law, O Lord.” We celebrate two heroic and faithful persons who soaked themselves in their blood for the faith that they professed in the Lord Jesus. They are the pillars and foundation of the Church which the Christ himself instituted. The original name of Peter was Simon, who was a fisherman by trade invited by the Lord to follow Him. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men”(Mt. 4:19) Even though the faith he professed was repeatedly challenged yet constantly growing to perfection that impressed the Lord. St. Peter was picked by Jesus to be the first Vicar on earth and entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the entrusted with the responsibility of Shepherding the Christ flock. St. Peter’s professed unfearingly the divinity of Christ and he suffered and martyred under Nero about AD 64 and is buried at the hill of the Vatican. Peter was the “first among equals” in the minds of all those who followed the Lord. In his faith journey, he made mistakes but the compassion and forgiveness of the Lord brought him so close a witness to Jesus on earth. Let our fire of faith never be quenched by any of our weakness on earth. St. Augustine teaches us, “Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.” St. Paul joined the band of the Apostles by the personal encounter and experience with the Lord. A persecutor of the Church converted for good as the untiring proclaimer of the Faith in the Lord. A model and inspiration for all the missionaries. He is so lovingly called, ‘the Apostle of the Gentiles.’ St. Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67. He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The first reading articulates his personal confession of the Lord’s intervention in his prison escape. “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod.” (Acts.12:11) The responsorial Psalm praises, “The Lord delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps.34:5). In the second reading, we reflect the personal confession of how the Lord utilised him as the instrument to proclaim the good news to all people especially to the non-Jews. “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). The Gospel presents us with the confession of Peter and Jesus’ assurance of entrusting His Church in his shepherding by the faith he confessed so publicly and unfearingly. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt.16:19). May you kindly pray for me as it is my patron’s day, I celebrate and thank the Lord. May you have a good day.

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