Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs (June 29)   13 comments

Above:  St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican

An Odd Couple


The Assigned Readings for This Feast:

Ezekiel 34:11-16

1 Timothy 4:1-8

John 21:15-19

Psalm 87

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


St. Peter and St. Paul began their life courses on different paths yet ended on the same route, as the greatest Christian leaders of their generation.

St. Peter, born Simon, was one of the Twelve Apostles.  Impetuous, often speaking before he thought or understood, even denying Jesus three times shortly before the crucifixion, he became the rock of faith Jesus predicted he would become.  At the Pentecost immediately following the resurrection St. Peter addressed the crowds as the leader of the surviving apostles.  St. Peter, once a firm believer in kosher laws and separation from Gentiles, abandoned those attitudes through divine and human influences.

St. Paul began life as Saul of Tarsus, a militantly devout Jew who persecuted Christians until he became a Christian.  After digesting his conversion experience for a few years St. Paul set out on missionary journeys in which founded churches, wrote epistles, suffered imprisonments and other hardships, and spearheaded the effort to take the message of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles without imposing Jewish strictures on them.  St. Paul was a well-educated, intelligent, and opinionated man with a great amount of intellectual arrogance, which is evident from this writings.  The epistles he wrote physically, dictated while in prison, and otherwise influenced account for 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.

Both men died at Rome in 64 C.E., during the Emperor Nero’s persecutions of Christians.  St. Paul died by beheading with a sword, and St. Peter by crucifixion upside-down.  He claimed to be unworthy to die as Jesus did because he had denied him.

These men were like us in many ways.  None of us is perfect.  Be honest about yourself; do you not have certain grave faults and destructive or off-putting tendencies?  The stories of Sts. Peter and Paul teach us that these need not be obstacles to doing God’s work.  God does not call the qualified; God qualifies the called.


JUNE 12, 2010


Posted June 12, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Bishops of Rome, June 29, Saints of the Bible

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