STS. PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES
"This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed
apostles Peter and Paul" These are words of St. Augustine in a
sermon for this feast (2nd Reading, Liturgy of the Hours) s:
"Through them the Church first received the faith." (Opening
Fr. Carroll Stuhmueller wrote that Peter is "the line of
continuity from Jesus to the world at large," and "Paul, for his
part, was the line of enrichment." (Biblical Meditations for
Ordinary Time, Weeks 10-22, p. 405).
In the gospels, St. Peter stands out as the apostle who most
frequently took the initiative in the presence of Jesus. Sometimes
it was embarrassing to himself, but Peter always remained
undaunted. To put it more bluntly, Peter sometimes put his foot
in his mouth, or made fool of himsel£ In a lesser man these
occasions might have destroyed the person, but Peter had one
quality that saved him in difficult situations. He had enthusiasm,
and beneath all the fuss and bluster there was a humble man.
Peter took a prominent part at the last supper. Prior to that he
was the acknowledged spokesman for the apostles. Jesus singled
him out for special attention on many occasions both before and
after his death and resurrection.
The Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter as a leader of the early
Church, and history confirms that. He undertook enourmous
hardships and fearlessly faced persecution. Peter was a man of
action, sometimes impetuous, but always an ardent lover of
St. Paul, who was well versed in rabbinical learing, at first
zealously persecuted the Church. However, on his way to
Damascus to arrest some prominent Christians there, he was
literally knocked off his high horse, and made to understand
Christ in that instant. From then on, his life's direction and
purpose changed radically.
The next three years of his life were spent in solitude, and then
he plunged into a life of missionary activity and preaching that
would tax the endurance of the heartiest missionaries of today.
Who is not impressed by the record of Paul's journeys as
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles?
Paul was the most powerful apostolic personality. His life and
example, and his letters have been the inspiration for the
preaching Church since.
Today in our liturgy and prayer we honor these two saints, so
different in personality and background, yet so alike in their
intense love of Christ. There is something in both of them for us
to admire and to imitate in addition to their great love of Christ
Both are examples of humility that comes from the knowledge of
truth. Both are examples of enthusiasm in service, of optimism in
outlook. Both took rightful pride in their accomplishments,
recognizing that these accomplishments were due to the grace of
To return to St Augustine, "These martyrs realized what they
taught, they pursued justice, they confessed truth, they died
It isn't necessary to spell out how we can imitate them It is