Thursday, June 29, 2006

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is, in essence, an ecclesial feast celebrating at once the origins of the Church, as well as the mystery of the Church at present.

It is comforting to note that the holy Church traces its origins to two sinners. One, a middle-aged man, probably in his midlife crisis, at once strong willed but lacking courage to stand for his convictions; who promised to stand by Christ even unto death, but threatened by death, folded in denial and fled into hiding. Another, a man at the prime of life, apparently at the peak of his energy and his career; of great zeal but began in the wrong path and was intent to massacre the very people he was destined to serve.

Both of them however were tranformed radically by a profound experience of the Risen Christ. Peter was embraced by forgiving Love along the lakeshore of Tiberias when the Lord gave him the chance to renew his commitment to him and trusted him again with the leadership of the Church. Paul was met personally by Christ, who dawned on him along the road to Damascus, and was led by Light, from blindness into light.

This is the foundation of the Church. Had Peter gone into hiding forever, had Paul let loose his rampant persecution, we wonder whether the Church would still be what it is now.

But they were sinners, weak and feeble men, who allowed grace to enter their lives and transform them completely. Because of his experience of forgiving love, Peter became a shepherd full of compassion. Because of meeting Jesus, Paul went out to all the world with new zeal to proclaim the love that has found him.

And so are we, men and women full of conviction yet sometimes lacking in courage, full of passion yet sometimes misguided in our motivation.

We pray that we, as a Church built on the foundation of the apostles, may be like Peter and Paul. Sinners though we are, if only we let the Risen Christ meet and transform us, we truly shall be living stones on which his Kingdom is built.


Let us pray to God, on this great feast of the apostles Peter and Paul, for the needs of the Church and for the needs of all people:

Lord, hear your people.

For the holy Church, built on the rock of Peter's faith, and spread by the fire of the apostle Paul, that she may persevere in faith and charity, breaking bread until the Lord comes. We pray.

For the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, successor of the apostle Peter, that he may lead the Church with compassion and care and gather Christ's people in the communion of love. We pray.

For our bishop, Honesto, who shares in the ministry of the apostles, that he may be zealous in the proclamation of the Gospel, and build the Church by his teaching and service. We pray.

For our leaders in society and in the community, that they may be imbued with the Peter's love for the flock and Paul's dedication to ministry, and build a people pleasing to the Lord. We pray.

For all of us, here gathered, that the power of the Risen Christ may touch and transform us, that by our compassion, we may passionately proclaim the saving love of Christ to all. We pray.

God our Father,
hear the prayers of your people
who venerate the memory of your blessed apostles, Peter and Paul.
Touch and transform us
as you would the bread and wine that we are about to offer
and make us your living presence in the world,
firm in faith and burning in charity

through Christ our Lord.



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