Acts 12: 1-11
Psalm 34: 2-9
2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 17-18
Matthew 16: 13-19
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul – the two founding apostles of the Jewish and Gentile churches. Both have chequered histories as they had moments of doubt, despair and rejection that led to the persecution of Jesus but which led to deep repentance and professions of faith.
In today’s readings we reflect on how the Angel of the Lord released Peter from his prison cell, despite the heavy guard all around him and his chains that bound him up. What seemed like the end of the road for Peter became a moment of freedom. This freedom from his persecutors enabled him to continue the work that God still had install for him. Paul too faced imprisonment on several occasions and was ‘saved from the lion’s mouth’ (Psalm 22:21 and 2 Tim 4:17). Who are our Angels that set us free from the bonds that tie us down; who bring relief when all is lost and say the right words just when we need them?
Where would we be without these two vibrant apostles of Christ? They brought an energy and life to their missionary journeys that saw them continue to build the kingdom of Heaven. They both fought the good fight to the end, both ran the race to the finish and kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7). Jesus had faith in them despite their failures to become great leaders. Jesus gave Simon a new name – Peter – the rock of his new community that he was calling together. Let us ask them in prayer to follow in their footsteps to be missionary disciples and servant leaders; to take the Good News to those that we meet at work, in the supermarket and in our local pub or café. Sts Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Victoria Raw is parishioner of Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Marlborough, NZ and is active in lay ministry.