Posted by: fvbcdm | June 29, 2013

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June 2013)

Today, June 29th, is the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, one of the greatest celebrations in the annual calendar of the Church and in some countries, a holyday of obligation.  When Our Lord asked the apostles who people said He was, they said this or that, and then He asked them, “But who do YOU say that I am?” Saint Peter spoke up: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That meant “You are the Anointed One, the promised redeemer, who shares in the nature of God just as every son shares in the nature of his father.” Our Lord was very pleased with this answer since it was profoundly true, and he commended Saint Peter on it.

When I was a child in grade school, the Sisters who taught us encouraged us to use those words of Saint Peter which had been so commended by Jesus every time we were at Mass and the priest elevated the Sacred Host after consecrating it. So, all through these years since then, either as a layman or a priest, at the moment of the elevation of the Host, I have looked at it and said what the Sisters taught me to say, and what St. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Every year on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the pope confers upon those men who have become archbishops in the previous year the pallium—a strip of cloth which is worn over the shoulders and hangs down front and back, symbolizing the dignity of archbishop. Today, two men whom I know received it from the hands of the Holy Father: Archbishop Michael Miller, the archbishop of Vancouver in Canada, his native country; and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, the new Archbishop of New Orleans, and the first native-born New Orleanian ever to shepherd that archdiocese. Archbishop Miller is a member of the Basilian congregation of priests, and was stationed at the University of Saint Thomas just a few blocks down the street from Holy Rosary here in Houston before returning to his native Canada and becoming the archbishop of Vancouver.

Saint Peter was, as we know, the first Pope. And while Saint Peter and the other eleven apostles were first preaching to the Jewish people as Christ had commanded them, Saint Paul was very dramatically converted from persecutor to preacher and sent to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. These two men were very different in background and personality, but alike in their devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And they met the same end: death by martyrdom at the hands of the pagan emperors of Rome. So we celebrate them today and give thanks for Our Lord’s foundation of the Church upon their faith, their courage, and their love of Him and those he wished to bring into His Church through their apostolate. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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