Today is the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. Both are remembered in a special way by the Church not only because both are apostles but also because of the roles each played in the history of Christianity. Peter is remembered as the Rock, the one whose faith will be the foundation of the faith of Christians. Paul on the one hand is remembered because of the theological moorings he created for the faith of non-Jewish Christians. On top of these, both confirm the faith of all other Christians in the act of martyrdom by which they offered themselves to God.
In the first reading of today’s mass, the highlight is on Paul’s career. The selection is from 2 Timothy 4:6-8.17-18. The letter is considered to be one of the letters in captivity. Paul writes to Timothy from prison and reminds him of his duties as a pastor of the flock. Paul’s days in mission are coming to an end. He writes;
As for me, my life is already being poured out like a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith…
In the gospel selection from Matthew 16:13-19 we have the passage where Jesus confers upon Peter the keys of the kingdom of God. “What you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven.” The conferral of authority on Peter will be repeated at the Last Supper where Jesus tells Peter that his mission after he has turned again is to support the faith of the brothers. Finally, John tells us that Peter was given the mission to “feed the sheep” after making a solemn profession of love to the Risen Lord.
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