Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. These two saints are celebrated on the same day because Jesus founded his church on Saint Peter and Saint Paul was the greatest evangelist in the history of the church. These two saints were very different from each other. Each of the two Apostles had a different mission, but together they built up the church that Jesus Christ founded. We owe our Christian faith in a large part due to them. We have personally benefited from their efforts, so it is very fitting that we honor them today.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles so clearly shows the awesome power of God, in a seemingly hopeless situation. Peter was chained up in prison with two times the normal restraints given to other prisoners, and twice the guards as well. It was the night before his trial before King Herod.
Everyone was asleep in the dead of the night, when suddenly an angel appeared in Peter’s cell. He woke him up and told him to get up quickly, and put on his belt and sandals. Peter thought he was dreaming or seeing a vision until after the angel led him past all of the sleeping guards, and then the iron gate opened all by itself leading them toward their freedom.
Saint Peter wasn’t sure that what he was experiencing was real at the time. but there are many instances in the bible that God or His angel, spoke to people in dreams. We shouldn’t completely disregard a spiritual experience in our dreams either. We shouldn’t take all of our dreams seriously, but just be aware that sometimes God does convey things of importance to us in our sleep sometimes. This is true with modern, every day people as well.
The second reading from the second book of Timothy is thought to have been written by Saint Paul or a close follower of Saint Paul, that was with him toward the end of his life. The true author of the second book of Timothy continues to be debated among biblical scholars, but it is really of little consequence. The church recognizes the truth in Saint Paul’s words, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And he certainly did. Saint Paul tirelessly gave his life for Christ right up until the last moments of his life. That is all that any of us can ever really hope for as well. Hopefully, we too will make it to the “finish line” with our faith still intact and look back at our life with little regrets. Sometimes we are so busy in life that we never really think about the big picture. Do you ever wonder if you are putting your life to good use for the Lord and for those you love and the people in your community too? We still have time to make some adjustments to our goals in life, if we need to.
Jesus was certainly aware of how his Father conveys knowledge to people sometimes, that they have no way of knowing on their own. In today’s gospel, it seems like Jesus already knew that Peter knew, who he really was, even if he had never specifically told him. He asked the Apostles, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” It’s also possible Jesus was just asking a simple question, but when Saint Peter answered Jesus, his heart was filled with the Holy Spirit. The words he spoke was simple, but came from his heart, and his words touched Jesus’s own heart.
Saint Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus knew that no human person had revealed this to him, but only his Father in heaven. It makes you wonder if this was God’s way of showing Jesus which Apostle loved him the most. Jesus founded his church on love. Love still guides the church and love is not necessarily found in education, structure, formation, planning, or any other human endeavor that is only conducted only with the human mind. Love without works is useless, but works without love is also useless.
The scriptures today clearly show us, that God is the one in charge of our lives, not man. It’s best to look to Saint Peter as our own role model, and allow God to reveal His will to us, in His own time and in His own way, in any situation that we are struggling with. That was one thing Peter was good at. Listening to God’s voice, and acting on it.
Daily Mass Readings:
Acts 12: 1-11 / Psalm 34 / 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 17-18 / Matthew 16: 13-19