June 29, 2017

Peter and Paul

June 29, 2017:  Peter and Paul, Apostles

See 35 connections with today?
Legend below

  • Angels/ Grant (1st reading d)

  • Ostensibly 90+ Peter/Paul hymns, but some are duplicates or false positives.  I only know five...
Pope Francis
Homily:  Today's readings offer us three words essential for an apostle:
Confession.  Peter makes his confession of faith; he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the living God, Lord.  Today Jesus looks at you, asks, “Who am I for you?,” and demands a response of life.  Knowing the articles of faith doesn't count if we don't confess Jesus as Lord.  “Am I the Lord of your life, your heart's longing, the reason for your hope?”  Renew your choice to be Jesus’ disciple, aflame with love.  Don't just tread water or take the easy way out, but renew your self-offering and put out into the deep.
Persecution.  Paul was “poured out as a libation”; to live was Christ, Christ crucified, who gave his life for him.  He followed the Master and offered his own life.  There's no Christian without the cross; “virtue is a matter both of doing good and tolerating evil” (Augustine), as Jesus did.   Tolerating evil is more than patience; it's imitating Jesus, shouldering our burden for the sake of Jesus and others, accepting the cross, pressing on with the Lord is at our side, “afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken.”  It's overcoming evil with Jesus, his way.  Paul considered himself a victor to be crowned.  He lived for Jesus and others, giving his all, keeping only his faith.  He accepted trials, suffering, and humiliation.  In the mystery of suffering offered up in love, embodied today by many who are persecuted, impoverished, infirm, marginalized, vilified, or discriminated against, the power of Jesus’ cross shines. 
Prayer.  The apostle's life flows from confession, becomes self-offering, and is of constant prayer, the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity.  Prayer makes us feel loved, enables us to love, makes us press on in darkness because it brings God’s light, and helps us overcome difficulties.  “Peter was in prison, but the Church prayed earnestly for him.”  The Lord cares for the praying Church.  When we pray, we entrust our lives to his loving care.  Prayer is the power that unites and sustains us, the remedy for isolation and self-sufficiency that can kill us; without it, we remain captive in our interior prisons.  May the Apostles obtain for us a heart like theirs, wearied because it's constantly interceding, weighed down by people and situations needing to be handed over to the Lord, yet at peace because the Spirit brings consolation and strength as we pray.  It's urgent that we be people of prayer!  The Lord is faithful to our love for him, and close to us when we're tried, accompanying us as he did the Apostles.
To new cardinals:  Jesus walks ahead of his apostles, resolutely towards Jerusalem, knowing what awaits him.  He's patient with them, knowing the Spirit can bridge the distance between his heart and theirs.  The disciples are distracted by their own concerns, like sitting at Jesus' side.  They don't see and understand but think they do.  The reality is what Jesus sees, the sin of the world and the cross.  The innocent suffer, are enslaved or discarded, or die.  He made the Father’s tender love known by healing all oppressed by the evil one.  Journey with Jesus; follow him on this path.  Look at reality; don't let other interests distract you.  Serve like him and with him; face the sin of the world and its effects.  Follow him, eyes fixed on his cross and resurrection.  Ask the Spirit to bridge the gap between our hearts and Christ's, so our lives may be at the service of God and all our brothers and sisters.
Angelus:  Peter and Paul suffered persecution and gave their lives in service to the first Christian communities.  Today's readings remind us that even in the most difficult moments, the Lord remains close.  God holds out his hand, helps us, and frees us from the threats of our enemies.  Our real enemy is sin, but when we're reconciled with God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we're liberated from evil and the burden of sin.

    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.
    (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.”
    • Creighton:  Peter and Paul are examples to us of how we can trust God.  “The Lord stood by [Paul] and gave [him] strength.”  “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat...”  When struck down, he allowed himself to be guided to the city, then waited.  He experienced the Lord standing by him trusted him to rescue him, not literally from death, but to union with God.  “The Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod and all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”  His experience bolstered his faith.  What is binding me?  How am I imprisoned?  Do I trust the Lord will free me?
    Peter was gifted with the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ.  When Jesus called him, he immediately “dropped his nets and followed.”  After he denied Jesus, he returned to the community; he trusted he'd be accepted back and forgiven.  Peter and Paul trusted Jesus would rescue them.  Jesus and his Father would always be with them, when they're in prison, blind, sinking, struggling, or dying.  Can I trust that much?  What is binding me?  How am I imprisoned?  Do I trust God is with me and I'll be freed?
    • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The Church frees":  Only Jesus can set us free, by his truth.  Because the Church is the pillar of truth and has been given the keys of God's kingdom, Jesus uses her to free us.  When Peter was on death row, as James had been, "the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf," then Jesus freed him.  Peter was guarded by 16 soldiers, chained, and locked; we like him need multiple miracles to be set free.  Because of the Church's prayers, angels are sent to wake us, clothe us with God's armor, and accompany us....
    • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect original); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
    • Passionist:  Peter and Paul were ordinary men, one a fisherman and the other a Pharisee and tentmaker, who recognized God called them to proclaim God's kingdom and suffered greatly doing so.  Peter didn't recognize the angel's presence nor understand what was happening but followed the Lord's lead out of prison, open to God.  When we suffer, it can be hard to see a compassionate God standing with us.  I used to try to work through pain alone, but now I realize God stands by me and gives me strength through prayer and other people, and I humbly ask for help.  When I suffer, do I look beyond my pain to our compassionate God?
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You are the Christ, 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?"
      • 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*
    • 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)
    • 'Feet' pin:  Cripple's feet grew strong (1st reading v)
    • 'Walker/runner' tie pin:  "Walking and jumping and praising God" (1st reading v); "I have finished the race" (2nd reading d)
    • 'Children around the earth' tie:  "Their message goes out through all the earth." (psalm v)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "I didn't immediately consult flesh and blood" (2nd reading v); Peter's martyrdom (gospel v); "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you" (gospel d)
    • 'Lamb' and 'sheep' tie bars:  “Feed my lambs.” / "Tend my sheep" / "Feed my sheep" (gospel v)
    • 'Hands' pin:  Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up (1st reading v); Herod laid hands on some Church members (1st reading d); the time of Paul's departure is at 'hand' (2nd reading d); "When you grow old, you'll stretch out your hands....” (gospel v)
    • 'What would Jesus do?' pin:  "Follow me" (gospel v)
    • 'Sword' pin:  Herod had James killed by the sword (1st reading d)
    • 'Street light' tie bar:  Light shone in the cell (1st reading d)
    • Tie bar with descending chains:  Chains fell from Peter's wrists (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)
    • 'Clock' pin:  "I'll bless the Lord at all times" (psalm d)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Peter/Jesus post-breakfast dialogue (gospel v)
    • 'Heart' pin:  “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
    • DISC lanyard (and T-shirt, not shown):  DISC 2017 ends tonight
    • 'Eyeball' pin (ouch; forgot to pack):  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)
    *v for vigil, d for daytime reading

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