The Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, apostles
(Acts 12:1-11; II Timothy 4:6-8.17-18; Matthew 16:13-19)
Today’s solemn feast celebrates the two original pillars of the Church. Peter was a charismatic preacher. He was entrusted by the Lord to watch over the growing Church community spreading from Jerusalem in all directions. Paul was an accomplished theologian who articulated the doctrine that defined the Church. He also founded communities of faith where the doctrine was lived.
The first reading shows how the Lord sends an angel to save Peter from assassination. Known for having authority, Peter becomes the man for the Jews to stop before Christianity takes root in Palestine. In the second reading Paul announces his legacy before being martyred. He has fulfilled the Lord’s mandate that he preach his name to non-Jews. He has felt the Lord’s hand in his efforts so far and is confident of his help to the end.
The two men are different in some ways. Peter is a fisherman by trade and Paul, a scholar although he knows how to work with his hands as well. Both are Jews but Peter spoke Aramaic and Paul Greek growing up. They are the same in that both have strong personalities. They deserve our admiration as they are responsible for the establishment of our faith. More than that, however, they elicit our imitation. We too should proclaim our love for the Lord as openly and strongly as they.