|Saints Peter and Paul by Fray Juan Sanchez Cotan circa 1560.|
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
June 29, 2020
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
I, Paul, 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.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.
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.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Today’s Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a rare one in the Church’s calendar for a few reasons.
Namely, it is one of the few celebrations that are jointly commemorated and today is the only one that — for most of the Roman Catholic Church — is a holy day of obligation. There are a few minor exceptions, which include the memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius on February 14. In both cases, the joint mission of the saints is made transparent in their joint festivities. Sts. Peter and Paul are both patrons and apostles to Rome, both preached, both shed their blood, and both died to proclaim the Gospel for the sake of our salvation and the glory of God.
In today’s first reading, we find Peter has been arrested during the Passover and is awaiting execution like Jesus had been only a few months before. Yet, an angel of the Lord miraculously leads Peter out of his restraints. Unscathed, he is freed from the hands of his enemies! Upon realizing his newfound freedom was not a dream, Peter hurries to the Christians gathered in prayer to declare the good news and to praise God.
In the second reading, we have a privileged glimpse into the mind and heart of Paul, who is grateful to God for helping him finish the race. Though Paul is “already being poured out,” he exhibits a peaceful joyfulness and is ready to give the very last drops of his life and strength. Here, he patiently waits for God’s work to be completed in Him.
In a real way, we should thank God for these two men whose proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the Western world eventually reached these cross timbers and prairies of the Fort Worth diocese. This feast is to remind us as Roman Catholics of our shared family heritage and our roots of faith. May we be inspired by their example of courage, patience, and trust in following our Lord for the sake of love and truth. In remembering their fidelity to the will and glory of God, may we humbly approach the God of the Universe and say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” as St. Peter did.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Today’s Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a rare one in the Church’s calendar for a few reasons. Namely, it is one of the few celebrations that are jointly commemorated.