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Feast of St Peter & St Paul

Posted on: June 29th 2020

“You did not choose me, but I chose you

and appointed you that you should go

and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide;” (Jn 15:16).

 

Last Sunday we celebrate the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Who were they and why are they important figures in the life of the church?

Growing up I remember a song we used to sing as a nursery rhyme about two little birds with one bird named Peter and the other named Paul. It didn’t strike me then why these two names were chosen and thought it was just a random coincidence.

The apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul are both foundational figures in the life of the Catholic Church. Both very different men were united in their faith in Christ, their service to the Church, and also in their martyrdoms in Rome.

When looking at icons or statues of these apostles, it is often seen that St Peter is holding a set of keys. These relates to Gospel passage where Peter is chosen by Jesus himself to be the rock on which Jesus will build His Church and is given the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

(Matthew 16:18)

St Peter is also known as the very first Pope in the Catholic Church chosen by Jesus Christ himself. St Paul on the other hand can be seen in many historical art works as holding a book and a sword. The book represents his many letters which constitute a significant part of the New Testament whilst the sword symbolises his martyrdom in Rome. 

Both Sts Peter and Paul would come to lead Christ’s Church through their own unique charisms. Both were far from perfect. Peter denied Jesus and Paul, before his conversion, used to persecute Christians! However Jesus himself chose these two men not by their ‘perfectness’ but by their hearts. In these saints, we see Jesus forming friendship, carefully calling His disciples by name. He elevated Saul to Paul and Simon to Peter, just as He lovingly befriends, calls, and elevates us today.

Today Jesus Christ Himself continues to call us by name so that we can bear much fruit wherever we go.

St Peter and St Paul, pray for us