Sunday, June 29, 2008
Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Both of these great Apostles had a tremendous love for Jesus, great faith, and an extraordinary zeal in seeking to have others know about Jesus and the Gospel.
In the second reading for today from the Second Letter to Timothy, Paul tells us "I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith."
He goes on to say that it is the Lord who "stood by me and gave me strength." Paul kept the faith because the Lord was his strength!
Peter was made the head of the Church by Jesus in today's Gospel (Mt 16). Jesus asked his disciples to tell him what others were saying about him. Then he presses them further: "But who do you say that I am?" (This is still a question that Jesus asks each of us today.)
Peter replies, "You are the Son of the living God." Jesus then tells him, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the Keys to the Kingdom of heaven."
As we celebrate these two great Apostles today, let us pray for all the people of God that we may live the teachings of Jesus. Let us pray especially for Pope Benedict XVI and all those preaching the Gospel today. I admire Paul; I admire Peter. I think we realize how human both were and yet how much they loved and trusted Jesus and this gave both of them such courage to preach the Gospel and even to give their lives for Christ.
As we begin this jubilee year in honor of St. Paul, I am adding the book by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini,S.J. The Gospel According to St. Paul: Meditations on His Life and Letters to the list of contemporary Spiritual Books that seem to be helpful, at least I am finding nourishment in good spiritual reading and try only to list books that I have personally read or at least used by browsing as I must confess that I have not yet had time to read much of Cardinal Martini's book, but I like what I have read and think others will, too.