Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.
“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose of earth shall be considered loosed in heaven. ” Matthew 16:18-19 JB
“Paul a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle and specially chosen to preach the good news.” Romans 1:1 JB
On Sunday, the Church will celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. They are known as the ‘Princes of the Apostles’ from whom we have received our Christian faith. Peter for his profession of faith in acknowledging Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah and Paul following his dramatic Damascene conversion became the greatest missionary of the Church as he went all over the then known world as a passionate and loving preacher and teacher. He spoke powerfully from first hand experience of how he had met Jesus and how Jesus had changed him. Paul encouraged everyone he met with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
Both apostles underwent a dramatic life change and with this came a change of name as well. Simon was known later as Peter after having denied that the ever knew Jesus three times during the passion. However, after the Resurrection of Jesus, Peter was given the chance to repent and begin again by saying three times that he loved Jesus. Saul became Paul and went from being a staunch Jew who sought nothing other than to search out and put to death anyone who professed the new faith of being a believer in Jesus to being himself imprisoned, flogged, beaten, shipwrecked and finally martyred for his profession of faith in Jesus Christ. During their lives, the Lord stood by them and gave them power, so that through them the message of Christ might be proclaimed for the entire world to hear.
They were both Martyred in AD64/5 during Nero’s persecution in Rome. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down as he did not wish to be put upon the cross in the same manner as his Lord. Paul, as he was a Roman citizen from the city of Tarsus, was beheaded. Peter’s symbol is the crossed-keys of the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus gives to him in Matthew 16:19 following his profession of faith and Paul’s is a sword which represents not only the instrument of his death but also represents the sword of the spirit which is the word of God – the scriptures.
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and drawn 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, for ever and ever. Amen.
Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
In our Gospel reading on Sunday at Mass we will hear the parable of the shepherd with 100 sheep who loses one of them.
Luke 15:3-7 New International Version (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
The Month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus chooses to make Himself vulnerable for us today in 2019! Although Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe, He willingly and freely chose to come to earth in order to save us. He gladly took upon Himself our human nature and went to the Cross for us, dying a cruel and despicable death to show us the very depths of His heart and His love for us. He is the shepherd who looks unceasingly for His one lost sheep! He will go to the ends of the earth find it again, even going through trials, thorns, suffering and death so it can be found and brought back home.
This month may we remember to pray for those who are preparing to enter the Priesthood or Religious Life. We also pray for those who are newly Ordained as Priests, Deacons and Bishops. Priests are also known as spiritual shepherds, who, like Jesus, the Good Shepherd of the sheep, take care of us, their spiritual flock! Each Parish is like a pasture where we can find rest, peace comfort and security in the Lord.
Jesus’ Sacred Heart is usually represented by Him showing His Heart to us. His Heart is shown with a Crown of Thorns painfully surrounding it which symbolises His Heart wounded by our sins and our coldness towards the things of God and the way we cruelly treat others. The flames burning within His Heart shows us His deep love for us. The Cross at the top of His Heart reminds us of His Passion and Death which saves us from our sins. His Heart is also pierced which reminds us that after Jesus had died, the Roman soldier on duty at the cross speared Him in the side and His Blood and Water flowed out, reminding us of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Baptism.
Our prayer today was written by St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th Century who received revelations, prayers and visions from Jesus who showed her His heart, wounded and broken by our indifference and our wrongdoing but overflowing with love and mercy for us. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque gave to the Church the Sacred Heart Devotions, which in their present form dates from AD1673-75.
May St Margaret’s prayer be ours today;
O Heart of love,
I put all my trust in Thee;
for I fear all things from my own weakness,
but I hope for all things from Thy goodness.