Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sunday June 29 TWO GREAT SAINTS OF THE CHURCH

TWO GREAT SAINTS OF THE CHURCH
(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of SAINTS PETER AND PAUL – Sunday, 29 June 2014)
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Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-19
First Reading: Acts 12:1-11; Psalms: Psalm 34:2-9, Second Reading: 2Timothy 4:6-8,17-18
The Scripture Text
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 RSV)
On this feast day, we celebrate the two main pillars of the early Church, Peter and Paul. These men represent two vital aspects of Christianity, both in its corporate and individual dimensions – the pastoral and the missionary. From the first Pentecost, Peter’s leadership of the Church was evident. Peter moved from Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome, where for two thousand years his successors have continued to offer a dynamic link to Jesus’ desire to build His Church.
Peter_great_confession_C-999The touchstone of Peter’s faith and the bedrock of his role as leader was his confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This is the very faith that Paul celebrated when he said, “No other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:11). Though Paul was among the last to be called an apostle, it could well be argued that it was he who developed the doctrines of faith that became the basis for our creed and continue to define the Church to this day.
The universal Church speaks with one voice when it declares “Jesus is Lord!” These two saints, Peter and Paul, have made it clear that our faith is not meant to be an individual, isolated thing. It’s not just “me and Jesus.” It’s “Christ and His Church.” God never wanted us to live in isolation from each other. He never intended Christianity to be an individual experience. He gave a corporate dimension to our faith so that our experience of life in the Spirit would be spurred on in power and supported in hope by the faithful witness of so many other believers.
By faith we are saved, and this faith is a gift given from our Father in heaven. Through the Church, let us make known the manifold wisdom of God. We too are called to be pillars of the Church. We too are called to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. As we take up our calling and profess the Lordship of Christ, we too participate in building up the Church that so long ago was begun by Peter and ignited by Paul.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling me to be one of Your disciples. May I ever proclaim Your Lordship in fellowship with all Your people. Amen.
Jakarta, 27 June, 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

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