Saturday, June 27, 2020

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

JUNE 29, of course, is the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and
Paul, two prominent apostles who, together with the others, are
considered as the pillars of the Church. St. Peter is known as the
“Prince of the Apostles,” while St. Paul is the special vessel chosen
by Christ to be the “Apostle of the Gentiles.”

            The solemnity is a good occasion for us to remind
ourselves that our faith, while a supernatural gift from God, has to
be understood the way the apostles received, understood and taught it.
It is also an occasion to realize more deeply the divinely-guaranteed
continuity between the apostles and their successors—the Popes and the

            Yes, in spite of the human weaknesses that we all have as
human beings, and that, for sure, the apostles as well as their
successors also have, that continuity that links us to Christ all
throughout time is kept.

            And that is simply because Christ said so. Remember that
time Christ gave St. Peter the keys to heaven. From the gospel of St.
Matthew, Chapter 16, we have this dramatic scene: “And you,” Jesus
asked the apostles, “who do you say that I am?” “You are the Messiah,”
Simon Peter answered, “the Son of the living God!”

            Jesus replied, “Blest are you, Simon son of John! No mere
man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part
declare to you, you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my
church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.

            “I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever
you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

            We need to meditate on these words often to strengthen our
faith in the apostles and their successors, especially when some
quarters start to sow doubts and intrigues about their integrity and

            Today, for example, there are some people who are casting
doubts as to whether Pope Francis is faithful to the office he
occupies. They remind me of those who split from the Church and formed
their own sects or cults because they accused some Popes in the past
and other Church leaders as having gone astray from the right path.
They even accused those Popes as the Antichrist.

            It’s like saying that these people had cracked the mystery
regarding who or what this Antichrist really was, and had the boldness
to present themselves as the Messiah or the savior of humanity of some

            It’s a pity because what we know is that Christ founded
only one church and that he has given that guarantee of continuity
that in spite of our human weaknesses, the gates of hell, the jaws of
death cannot prevail against it.

            Obviously, in the history of the Church the weaknesses of
men, including those on the top positions in the Church, would always
come out. But Christ assured us in very concrete terms that everything
will just be all right. They keys to heaven have been given to some
men, regardless of their weaknesses.

            We know that St. Peter himself was not a perfect man. He
had weaknesses, and in some instances was even scolded by Christ. St.
Paul talked about the thorn of the flesh that he was bearing. We can
imagine how the other apostles were.

            What we have to do is to fully trust in God’s providence
especially insofar as the Church leadership is concerned. If there is
something to clarify, we can always bring it up, but always in the
spirit of charity and filial piety.

            Let’s always remember that there will always be mysteries
in our life, in the world and in the Church. They may overwhelm us at
some points, but if we would just hold on to Christ and to what he has
left us, everything will just be taken care of!

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