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The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles


“.....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.” ~ Matthew 16:18-19

“.....and I Paul, was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me to his heavenly Kingdom.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:18

Today we pause to venerate two of the true heavyweights of the Catholic Church, Saints Peter and Paul. To understand why we celebrate them both in the same day, I defer to the great Saint Augustine, who said of them in part “These two also were as one. We are celebrating a Feast Day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labors, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching."

The Readings chosen in support of this Solemnity characterize and define Saint Peter and Saint Paul and what they mean to our faith foundation and traditions. They shed light on the path that these heroic and tireless disciples blazed, the men who are considered to be the Apostle to the Jews (Peter) and to the Gentiles (Paul). The Readings chosen are as follows:

Vigil Mass: Acts 3:1-10, Galatians 1:11-20, John 21:15-19

Mass during the day: Acts 12:1-11, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18, Matthew 16:13-19

These were two imperfect men who, despite their faults, stayed true to their profession of faith. Whether it was Peter who became the “Rock” of our Church or Paul who famously “fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith,” they are revered and celebrated today and for all of eternity. They never achieved the rank of CEO, nor were either of them Nobel Prize Winners or Super Bowl MVP, or even a Doctor of the Church There is no star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame commemorating either of them and sadly, there is no Rest Stop on the New Jersey Turnpike named after them (…just making sure you’re paying attention).

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Saints Peter and Paul are poignant reminders of that which in lasting, that which brings true immortality. These men brought countless souls to Jesus. In the grand, eternal scheme of things, is there a greater accomplishment? They remind us that we too must strive to do the same through our thoughts, actions, words and choices.

It’s been said time and time again that the Saints have been chosen by God to offer their lives in sacrifice as an example to us. Both Saint Peter and Paul followed Jesus by allowing themselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Each one of us is unique, of this we can be certain. But the same Spirit that galvanized and purified both Peter and Paul dwells within us. the fruits of this indwelling are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance. Does your life reflect these virtuous traits? Seek the intercession of Saints Peter band Paul so that you too can be an Apostle for Jesus in a world that so desperately needs Him. . . and you.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

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