Today’s second reading is a great proclamation by St. Paul about his journey, his dedication, and his love for the Lord:
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. (2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18)
The Gospel is about the establishment of St. Peter as “The Rock”, the one upon whom the Church was built.
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
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.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:13-19)
Jesus calls all sorts of individuals. When we celebrate the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, we remember to completely different individuals. They had different backgrounds, different beliefs, and different strengths. In many ways, they were the original “Odd Couple”. Yet, as different as they were, they both had their personal encounters with the Lord that drove their mission in their lives.
That encounter, that relationship, with the Lord was enough to sustain them in their lives here on earth. It was enough to help them face death, all in the name of the Lord.
We need the courage of the apostles in our world today.
FAITH ACTION: Are you a volunteer at your church? If not, consider becoming one. If you are, do you find yourself at odds with others because of their differing viewpoints. Remember, today, that God calls a variety of people to serve Him. Give your fellow volunteers the benefit and work together more charitably.