Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 29, 2024


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R/. From all my terrors he set me free

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

R/. Alleluia.

At that day, when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

1.      Today we celebrate the solemnity of St Peter and St Paul. In a way, they are the two prime craftsmen of the edifice of the Church,  after the heart of Christ, the real Founder, and the Master Architect. They are the master servants of the Supreme Master and the servant leaders of the community of believers.

2.      What is striking and awe-inspiring in both of them is their unbounded passion for Christ. It is this passionate love for him that makes them stand solid like a rock even in the face of terrible adversities and persecutions, leading to martyrdom as well.

3. It is this passion that makes Peter announce with conviction, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16. 16). It is this passion that makes Peter affirm with indefectible loyalty, “To whom shall we go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life” (cf. Jn 6. 68). It is this passion that makes him confess his love with total heart, “Lord, you know that I love you” (cf. Jn 21. 15-19). It is the same passion that keeps his faith undaunted despite the imprisonments or other sufferings.

4. However, this passion is not merely sentimental or limited only to words. It is deeply actual and authentic in action. It shows itself in total detachment and sacrifice. That is why Peter left everything and followed the Lord at his call (cf. Luke 5. 8-11). He would also attest, “You see we have given up everything to follow you” (Mt 20. 27).

5.      The same passion is amply manifest in Paul as well. See what a fire of love consumes him when he professes his love for Christ, “Who or what can separate us from the love of Christ?” Nothing and no one can ever work against us when Christ is with us and when we love him (cf. Rom 8. 35-39).

6.       That is why, Paul would exclaim in Phil 3. 7-8: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ”.

7.      Further, this same passion would set them on fire in the same mission of Christ, charged with perseverance, loyalty, and commitment. It makes them selfless and fearless in carrying out the mission of Christ. Their passionate mission knew no bounds and so it cut across all boundaries.

8. They remained true to their Master to the end. They testified their love and passion for their Lord by their blood. It is this authenticity of commitment that makes Paul declare in today’s second reading from 2 Timothy 4. 6-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.

9.      Today, perhaps, this fiery passion of Peter and Paul may be covered under the ashes of fabrics of authority and administration in line with Peter, or under the garbs of eloquent preaching and supervision in line with Paul.

10. We will be doing great injustice to Peter and Paul if we limit them to suit our rungs of power and word. Their passion, their loyalty, and their self-emptying commitment should be rediscovered and reactivated.

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