June 29, 2016

Peter & Paul

June 29, 2016:  SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles

See 21 connections with today?
Legend below

Listen*

  • Angels/ Grant (1st reading d)

  • Ostensibly 66 Peter/Paul hymns, but some are duplicates or false positives.  I only know five of them...
Pope Francis
Homily:  Today's readings present a clear contrast between closing and opening.  In this context we can consider the symbol of keys Jesus promises to Peter so he can open the kingdom of heaven, not close it like hypocritical scribes and Pharisees.  The Acts reading gives three examples of “closing”:  Peter is cast into prison, the community gathers behind closed doors in prayer, and Peter knocks at the closed door of the house of Mary, mother of John Mark.  In these examples, prayer is the main way out.  It's a way out for the community, which risks closing in on itself out of persecution and fear.  It's a way out for Peter whom Herod imprisoned; while he was in prison, the church prayed for him.  The Lord responded, sending his angel to rescue Peter from Herod's hand.  Prayer, as humble entrustment to God and his will, is always the way out of becoming closed.
Paul too spoke of his experience of liberation, of finding a way out of his impending execution.  He tells us the Lord stood by him and gave him strength, but he also speaks of a greater “opening,” to the infinite horizon of eternal life awaiting him.  His life was “going out” in service to the Gospel, projected forward, in bringing Christ to those who didn't know him, then rushing into Christ’s arms to be “saved for his heavenly kingdom.”
Peter's profession of faith and the mission Jesus entrusted to him show us that his life, like ours, opens when it receives faith from God.  Simon sets out on a difficult journey that leads him out of himself, leaving human supports behind, especially his pride.  In his process of liberation, Jesus' prayer is decisive:  “I have prayed that your faith may not fail.”  Likewise decisive is Jesus' compassionate gaze after he'd denied him, piercing the heart and bringing tears of repentance.  Peter was set free from the prison of his selfish pride and fear and overcame the temptation to close his heart to Jesus’s call to follow him along the way of the cross.
When Peter found himself freed from prison, he went to John Mark's mother's home.  He knocked on the closed door, and a servant named Rhoda came.  She recognized his voice, and instead of opening the door, she ran to tell her mistress.  The account makes us perceive the climate of fear that led Christians to stay behind closed doors, but also closed to God’s surprises.  The Church is always tempted to close in on herself in the face of danger, but we also see the openings through which God can work.  In that house “many had gathered and were praying.”  Prayer opens a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy, from division to unity.  May Peter and Paul intercede for us, so that we may joyfully advance, experience God's liberating action of God, and witness to it everywhere.
Angelus:  The entire Church considers Peter and Paul pillars and great lights who shine in the hearts of all believers.  They were very different:  Peter, a humble fisherman and Paul, highly educated.  Their decision to embark on a difficult journey to Rome gave this territory the Christian spiritual and cultural foundation.  Both came to witness to the Gospel and sealed their mission with martyrdom.  Today, they knock on the doors of our hearts.  They still desire to bring us Jesus' merciful love, consolation, and peace; let us welcome their message!”...
Read
      St. Peter and St. Paul/ El Greco
    • Acts 3:1-10  When the cripple at the Beautiful Gate asked Peter and John for alms, Peter said, “I'll give you what I have:  in the name of Jesus Christ, walk!”  He leaped up, walked, jumped and praised God.  They all recognized him as the beggar and were amazed.
    • Ps 19:2-5  "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory and handiwork.
    • Gal 1:11-20  The Gospel I preached is not of human origin; it came through a revelation of Christ.  I used to persecute the Church, But when God revealed his Son to me, I went to Arabia and returned to Damascus, then went to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas....
    • Jn 21:15-19  Jesus / Simon Peter, after miraculous breakfast:  “Do you love me more than these?” / “You know I love you.” / “Feed my lambs.  Do you love me?” / “You know I do.” / “Tend my sheep.  Do you love me?” / Peter, distressed he asked a third time:  “Lord, you know I love you.” / “Feed my sheep.  When you were younger, you used to go where you wanted; but when you grow old, someone else will lead you where you don't want to go.  Follow me.”  He said this signifying by what kind of death he'd glorify God.
Daytime
      (Not this Peter and Paul :-)
    • Acts 12:1-11  The Church was praying for Peter, whom King Herod imprisoned.  Angel to Peter:  “Get up, put on your belt, sandals, and cloak, and follow me!”  His chains fell, he dressed, he followed him past the guards, the gate opened, they went, and the angel left.  Peter:  “Now I know the Lord rescued me.”
    • Ps 34:2-9  "The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him."  I'll always bless the Lord; let's extol him together.  He delivered me.  Look to him and be radiant.  When the poor one called out, he heard and saved him.  Taste and see how good the Lord is...
    • 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18  Paul:  I'm being poured out; I've competed well, finished the race, and kept the faith.  The Lord will award a crown to me and to all who have longed for him.  He gave me strength so through me all Gentiles might hear the proclamation.  The Lord will rescue me and bring me safe to his Kingdom.
    • Mt 16:13-19  Jesus / disciples, at Caesarea Philippi:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet.” / “Who do you say I am?” / Simon Peter:  “The Christ, Son of the living God.” / “Blessed are you, Simon; my Father revealed this to you.  You're Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my Church.  I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom; what you bind or loose shall be so in heaven.”
Reflect
      • Creighton:  Peter was in prison because some hated Jesus’ followers.  Luke matter-of-factly mentioned Herod killed the apostle James because disciples were always killed.  When the angel comes, Peter eventually realizes the Lord sent his angel to rescue him.  Paul is certain of his salvation because of his relationship with the Lord.  If Jesus rescued him from the lion, why wouldn't Paul be confident one day he'll stand in God's presence?  Peter and Paul had a different view of world, Church, God, and the future than many of us do. What might change if we began to see as they did?
      • Passionist:  Peter and Paul were ordinary men, a fisherman and a tentmaker, who recognized that God called them and who had courage to speak the truth Christ gave them.  They endured hardships for their words and actions but kept believing.  Even in prison Peter hoped in Christ.  Paul didn't fear death in prison either; he knew he completed what Christ asked of him.  He was so passionate about his earlier faith he persecuted the first Christians, but once Jesus caught his attention, he carried the message of Christ to the Gentiles.  His passion came from the truth in his heart; he wasn't afraid to recognize it and act on it.  Each of us are called to become greater; it's possible only through faith, prayer, hope and trust in Christ.  What is Christ calling you to today?
      • DailyScripture.net:  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God":  Peter and Paul worked to spread the gospel to Israel and the nations, risking their lives and pouring out their blood in loyalty to Christ.  Peter recognized Jesus as the "anointed one" (Messiah, Christ) and Son of God; only God could have revealed this to him.  Jesus gave Peter authority to govern the church, giving him the name "rock" (Aramaic, Greek), a great compliment.  Rabbis said that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed:  "I've discovered a rock to found the world on."  Abraham put his trust in God and founded his faith and life on God's word; through him God established a nation.  Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus was.  The church, the people of God, is a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with members joined as living stones.  Faith in Christ makes us into spiritual stones.  "Who do you say I am?"

      • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect original); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
        • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
          • Peter put his foot in his mouth, panicked on the water, blundered after professing faith, refused to be washed, and betrayed his master.  Yet he was chosen as rock on which the Church is built over James, John, or financially savvy Judas.  The Church’s foundation-stone and first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful but an ordinary man; if he'd been great and noble hero, we could have despaired of becoming like him and told ourselves the Church is only for saints.  But the Church is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like him and us; grace holds it together and helps it grow.  Grace taught Peter patience and forbearance and helped him bear witness when it counted.  Admire that grace and pray we may receive and use it too.
          • Paul:  Many don't find him attractive, saying he badgered people into submission or invented a Christianity worse than Christ's, but God needed and called him, and he said and did what God wanted.  Paul reminds people of his weakness.  May we love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind, and strength as Paul did.
        Dress legend*
        • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Peter to paralytic:  “Look at us.” (1st reading v); Peter thought he was seeing a vision (1st reading d); Taste and see the Lord's goodness (psalm d)
        • Silver- and gold-colored accessories:  "I don't have any silver or gold, but I give you what I have:  in Jesus' name, walk!"  (1st reading v)
        • 'Walker' tie pin:  "Walking and jumping and praising God" (1st reading v)
        • 'Children around the earth' tie:  "Their message goes out through all the earth." (psalm v)
        • 'Lamb' and 'sheep' tie bars:  “Feed my lambs.” / "Tend my sheep" / "Feed my sheep" (gospel v)
        • 'Hand' tie pin:  "When you grow old, you'll stretch out your hands....” (gospel v)
        • 'Sword' pin:  Herod had James killed by the sword (1st reading d)
        • 'Angel' pin:  The angel of the Lord frees Peter from prison (1st reading d); "the angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him" (psalm d)
        • 'Hearts' suspenders:  “Simon, do you love me?” (gospel v)
        • Belt and sandals (not shown):  “Put on your belt and your sandals.” (1st reading d) [call me a 'belt and suspenders man']
        • 'Caged lion' pin:  Cage for prison (1st reading d), lion for "I was rescued from the lion’s mouth." (2nd reading d)
        • 'Crown' tie bar:  "The crown of righteousness awaits me" (2nd reading d)
        • '?' tie pin:  “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” / “Who do you say that I am?” (gospel d)
        • 'Rock' tie pin:  "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (gospel d)
        • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom.” (gospel d)
        • Red shirt:  Color of the day, martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul
        *v for vigil, d for daytime reading