Tiffany and I are at it again. We chose the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul coming up this Sunday, June 29th. I will be talking directly to and about St. Peter (I got it like that) and Tiffany about Saint Paul, so be sure to head over for the second half of this post. These Apostles would have wanted it that way. Last month, in honor of my Catholic pilgrimage to Italy, we wrote about Saints Christopher and Michael the Archangel.
Well, look at you St. Peter. You’re kind of the man. Not the man, because that’s Jesus. In your life you denied Jesus three times, but were given the keys to the kingdom anyway. You were with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane during his Agony and were quite the event planner helping to set up the ultimate dinner party, The Last Supper. You even went a little too far, and cut off the right ear of a slave of the high priest when they shackled Jesus, I would have done the same thing, personally. After the Ascension of Our Lord, you were the undeniable choice for leading the Apostles, I mean, who else was going to head hunt to find a replacement for Judas? Not me. What’s probably most near and dear to my heart is your role after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In a general audience from Saint John Paul II back in 1989, he said:
Now, on the day of Pentecost, Peter, by this time freed from the crisis of fear that had led him to deny Jesus on the eve of the passion, professed that same faith in Christ. Strengthened by the paschal event, he proclaimed openly before all those people that Christ was risen! (cf. Acts 2:24 ff.)
Saint John Paul II also mentions two other huge moments where your deep faith in Jesus was uttered in the humblest of ways:
On one occasion, after the announcement of the Eucharist in the neighborhood of Capernaum, Jesus, on seeing many of his disciples turn their backs on him, asked the apostles: “Will you also go away?” (Jn 6:67). Peter replied with those words inspired from on high: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:68-69). On another occasion Peter’s profession of faith took place near Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus asked the apostles: “Who do you say that I am?” According to Matthew, “Simon Peter replied: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'” (Mt 16:15-16).
It’s pretty cool that a Pope who was just canonized into sainthood would have an entire General Audience about the first ever Pope. You, St. Peter. I was at a General Audience recently and they’re pretty packed. As in 20,000 people, maybe. I’m just estimating here as I could only snap a photo quickly standing on a chair (the Swiss Guardsmen are tough!). Take a look, maybe you have a better vantage point from heaven and can give a better guess:
Did you know that the basilica where all the Pope’s live is named after you? Except Pope Francis, he likes to live here, in the Vatican guesthouse, something about humility, not being worthy, or something like that. He’s pretty great.
You’re pretty humble too, not only do you share a feast day with another great and founding apostle, St. Paul you were true to Our Lord even to death. Catholic Online writes:
According to rich tradition, Peter was crucified on the Vatican Hill upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord. He was then buried on Vatican Hill, and excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica have unearthed his probable tomb, and his relics are now enshrined under the high altar of St. Peter’s.
And you thought you’d just be a fisherman! More like a fisher of men, just like He said. So, St. Peter Prince of the Apostles and Supreme Pontiff, pray for us.
Why not try bringing this celebration home for dinner this weekend and make a Galilean meal I am sure this Apostle would have loved, St. Peter’s Fish with Parsley Sauce from Cooking with the Bible and be sure to head over and read up on Saint Paul.