Both Peter and Paul died in Rome. One was crucified, the other was beheaded. For centuries the Church honours them together though their ministries were different. One was the Apostles to the Gentiles, the other the leader of the Church, the Vicar of Christ.
This tradition has its roots in the scripture of today. “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of the underworld will not hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…..”
We note that Jesus says to Peter: “You are a happy man because flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven”. Peter’s act of faith is a result of divine revelation, an inspiration of grace. It was not human knowledge or intuition. Our faith likewise is a gift of God. No one can say Jesus is Lord unless they are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Like Peter and Paul we acknowledge Jesus as the Saviour because we have the gifts of faith and knowledge and wisdom. It is not a human achievement. It is a grace. Treasure the grace, protect it and nourish it. And in Matthew’s Gospel we are always reminded of the sufferings that will follow.
We thank God for the gift of Faith. We thank God for the gift of faith in Peter and Paul. We thank God for the long tradition of faith in Jesus, the Saviour of the world. We pray for Pope Francis. May the Lord protect him and deliver him and protect him from the evil one.