June 29, 2015

Peter and Paul

June 29, 2015:  Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Look for some 20 connections between
today's readings and celebration and the picture.
(Legend below)

  • Angels/ Grant (1st reading d)

  • There is a balm in Gilead:  lyrics+ (great especially for last night if you celebrated the vigil since it hits both Sunday's healing gospel and "if you can't heal like Peter, if you can't preach like Paul" :-)
  • Ostensibly 70 Peter/Paul hymns, but some are dups or false positives.  I only know five of them...
Pope Francis homily
(for SS. Peter and Paul, and Pallium conferral)  The first Christians were persecuted, as unfortunately are many today, but I won't dwell on that now but rather on the courage that advanced the work of evangelization; their life calls us to prayer, faith, and witness.
  • Prayer:  The first community prayed.  The community of Peter and Paul teaches us the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward!  Praying Christians are protected, guarded, sustained, and never alone.  How often the Lord has heard us and sent us an angel, as in today's first reading?  An angel who pulls us from a difficult situation, snatches us from death and evil, points out the wrong path, rekindles hope, tenderly comforts, consoles or awakens us, or tells us we're not alone?  God places angels on our path, but when we're afraid, unbelieving, or even euphoric, we leave them outside, just as when Rhoda didn't open for Peter when she recognized his voice.  Every community needs the support of persistent prayer, encounters with our faithful God, where believers express faith and trust, and God reveals his closeness.
  • Faith:  God doesn't take us out of the world or away from evil but rather grants strength.  “The Lord is my shepherd; I want for nothing.”  How many forces have tried, and still try, to destroy the Church but are themselves destroyed while she remains solid!  Everything passes; only God remains.  The Church, founded on and belonging solely to Christ, remains faithful to faith shown in service.  Only one who lives in Christ can promote and defends the Church by holiness of life, after Peter and Paul's example.  Believers raise the dead, heal the sick, love their persecutors, and show nothing can defeat one with faith!
  • Witness:  Peter and Paul, like all who sowed Church's seeds by their blood, drank the Lord’s cup and became friends of God.  A Church or Christian who doesn't give witness is sterile, like a dead person who thinks they're alive, a tree that produces no fruit, or a dry well!  The Church has overcome evil thanks to her children's courageous, concrete, humble witness; she's conquered evil by proclaiming Christ.
I entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.  Be masters of prayer, angels of charity, masters of faith, and witnesses through coherent lifestyle!  Be convinced and convincing, unashamed of Christ and his Cross, in the steps of Peter, Paul, and other Christians who brought growth to the Body of Christ.  Don't contradict by behavior or lifestyle what you preach and teach!  Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing, and give witness by living!
    (Not this Peter and Paul :-)
  • 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.
  • 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.”
    St. Peter and St. Paul/ El Greco
  • 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.”
    • Creighton:  The Acts 12 reading is about Herod’s fatal persecution of James and his intent to kill Peter.  Imagine the early Church's fear of such violence and slaughter.  How could they survive the sacrifice of “the Rock”?  God seemed to allow Herod early success in persecution; it tested people's faith, but then God’s power was revealed and the faith  of Peter and those who looked to him was confirmed.  When confronted with evil and death, don't pray against your foes but for manifestation of God’s will.  In the  2 Tm reading, Paul, mentoring Timothy, speaks of his being poured out and of his having kept the faith....
    • One Bread One Body:  "The Today Show":  Today is special because Peter was the Rock on which Jesus built his Church, Paul was apostle to the Gentiles, both were martyrs, and both keep praying for us....
    • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
    • Passionist:  Today's readings remind us how important it is to build on rock.  Peter and Paul “rocks” of faith and preached with strength and single-mindedness.  Today's rocks include Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai, people of Charleston forgiving....  They're inclusive, inviting everyone to the table of justice.  Compassion is their strength.  Where do I place my foundation?

    • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect original); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
      • 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.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.
      • 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.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.
    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)
    • '?' 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 (and in socks):  color of the day, martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul
    *v for vigil, d for daytime reading

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