Feast of St. Peter and Paul – the apostles, Mt 16: 13-19

Example of St. Let Peter and Paul inspire us to the right answers.

Do you also have photos of your loved ones at the forefront? If not, you’ve probably seen that many people take photos of the most expensive, alive and dead, where they often look during the day. They do so that they do not forget to remember the love that unites them in the hurry of duty. We see something similar in old and new churches with today’s saints Peter and Paul. Symbols – keys in the hands of St. Peter and the sword in the hands of St. Paul, remind us of the love of Christ.

The event that took place at Caesarea Philippe is still temporal, current. Then Jesus asked the apostles two questions: “For whom do men regard the Son of man? And who do you think I am” (Mt 16:13, 15)? St. Peter and St. Paul – two personalities of faith, hope, and love. Peter and Paul are fire and water. Paul is a fire, Peter water. The fire ignites, and the water goes out. It’s hard to imagine life without water and fire. In connection with Jesus, we see Peter as teaching, especially among the Jews, about Jesus quenching the thirst of the multitudes, who accept Jesus as their God and Lord as the expected and foretold Messiah. On three missionary journeys through Asia and Europe, Paul ignites the hearts of the Gentiles for Christ. St. Peter and Paul – how different were their life paths, occupations, positions, and when they meet Jesus, learn about the teachings of Jesus, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, unite their lives, activities, missions and, according to tradition, die for Christ in that one day in Rome. Peter crucified downside down when he did not feel worthy of death as his Master, Jesus, died. Paul – a Jew and at the same time a Roman citizen, cannot be crucified, so he dies by beheading.

Peter comes from Lake Gennesaret, where he was a fisherman and where Jesus and his brother Andrew invited him after an unmarried fishery. He told them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). Paul was of Tarsus, raised at Gamaliel’s feet, a Pharisee, a zealous father, and a persecutor of Christians. As he approached Damascus, where he was to persecute Christians, he met the glorified Jesus. A brief dialogue between him and Jesus – and the persecutor becomes the greatest apostle, the apostle of the nations, the apostle who led many Gentiles to the faith of Jesus Christ. Peter spent three years with Jesus. He saw, experienced, learned, and mastered, described according to Peter’s disciplines of St. Mark in the gospel because he was Peter’s companion and guide. And later, Peter will write two more letters. After a meeting near Damascus, Paul leaves, led by the Spirit, into silence in the desert, where God specially prepares him. To this end, he goes to Jerusalem, where he meets Peter and later the other apostles.

The work of Saints Peter and Paul was not just a one-time answer as to whom Jesus was considered. For more than three decades of their activity, proclamation, preaching, imprisonment, there was a time when, over and over again, they testified in word and life who Jesus was to them. Peter’s name is mentioned forty-four times in the New Testament. This number and every mention of Peter’s name helps believers that the faith spread by St. Peter and Paul is not just something that belongs to the celebrations only sometimes. Still, the profession of faith is an everyday reality for a Christian. The feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul is a moment of reflection on the faith and relationship of each of us to Christ. “Who do people consider the Son of Man to be?” “And who do you think I am” (Mt 16:13, 15)? Jesus’ promise to Peter: “You will be Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18); at the beginning of the third millennium, they are true and will remain true until the end of time.

Monsignor’s answer to Emperor Napoleon’s question is well known: Why couldn’t he destroy the Church? “Didn’t the priests do it, and could you do it?” Even today, the questions of Jesus are still relevant. Europe is uniting. If many unifiers today are reluctant to insert the word God into the preamble of a united Europe, history will prove, as it has many times shown, that without God, God’s blessing, without keeping God’s commands, God’s words are in vain human effort. The church traveling on earth must be fighting. She has always been persecuted. Such actions also testify to something. We forget what history teaches. Where are those who have claimed that the Church is dead – who have already made money on this subject? Who remembers celebrating those who sentenced Christians to death in the Roman Colosseum, arenas around the world, gulags, prisons, dungeons …? Today, the numbers of saints are increasing, those who are a sign that neither death nor other afflictions will destroy what belongs to God. Even today, faith in Jesus becomes a driving force for scientists, artists, young and old, consecrated to God and the laity, and they profess what Jesus means to them.

The view of the years of St. can tell us something. Paul. When he met Jesus near Damascus, Paul was probably 36 years old and probably died in 67. We know from the Apostles and his letters that he spent 3 years in secret in Arabia and 5 years of forced residence in Tarsus. It, therefore, remains 23 years old for missionary work. But beware! From this must be deducted 7 years of Paul’s stay in prison. There are 10 years left to preach the gospel. A little? Paul probably covered 15,000 kilometers on his journeys. As he himself professes in humility, he was in danger of life at sea and on land, from various enemies under various circumstances and goals; he was flogged, battered, survived a shipwreck, condemned by his nation. .. Paul was educated by Gamaliel for his time and developed and worked on his talents, using his abilities to gain more and more for Christ. He then visits well-known and important cities, centers such as Corinth, Ephesus, Athens … and announces the teachings of Christ. What can we answer about that? St. Paul gave a true testimony of Christ. He gave an exemplary answer to today’s question of Jesus from the gospel.

Note the life and work of Pope John Paul II. When we follow his work in proclaiming the Gospel – in encyclicals (14), foreign (101) and travels in Italy, visits to Roman parishes (310), Wednesday audiences, acceptance of various personalities for his pontificate, office, pope … – we can say that sure what we said about st. Paul that Pope John Paul II. gave an exemplary answer to today’s question of Jesus from the gospel.

By the third, let’s notice our life. Let’s stop at our family. Let’s give a true answer to Jesus’ questions. “Who do people consider the Son of Man to be?” “And who do you think I am” (Mt 16:13, 15)? True answers not only suggest something but can be an inspiration. And that is the intention and goal of today’s reflection. A look at photos of loved ones, a look at the personality of St. Peter and Paul, and a look at the questions of the Lord Jesus addressed to each of us, let us ask them to be a means of reward for us one day.

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