Monday, June 29, 2015



On June 29 the Church celebrates the feast day of Sts. Peter & Paul. As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day. Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.
Peter, who was named Simon, was a fisherman of Galilee and was introduced to the Lord Jesus by his brother Andrew, also a fisherman. Jesus gave him the name Cephas (Petrus in Latin), which means ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church.
Peter was a bold follower of the Lord. He was the first to recognize that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and eagerly pledged his fidelity until death. In his boldness, he also made many mistakes, however, such as losing faith when walking on water with Christ and betraying the Lord on the night of His passion.
Yet despite his human weaknesses, Peter was chosen to shepherd God's flock. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates his role as head of the Church after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Peter led the Apostles as the first Pope and ensured that the disciples kept the true faith.
St. Peter spent his last years in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down at his own request, because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord.
He was buried on Vatican hill, and St. Peter's Basilica is built over his tomb.
St. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles. His letters are included in the writings of the New Testament, and through them we learn much about his life and the faith of the early Church.
Before receiving the name Paul, he was Saul, a Jewish pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. Scripture records that Saul was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen.
Saul's conversion took place as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christian community there. As he was traveling along the road, he was suddenly surrounded by a great light from heaven. He was blinded and fell off his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Saul continued to Damascus, where he was baptized and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the remainder of his life preaching the Gospel tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world.
Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67.
He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
In a sermon in the year 395, St. Augustine of Hippo said of Sts. Peter and Paul: “Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.”

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Readings for the Vigil Mass on the evening before the feast:

First Reading
Acts 3:1-10

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Psalm 18:2-5
Their word goes forth through all the earth.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God,
  and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
  and night unto night makes known the message.
Their word goes forth through all the earth.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard
  yet their span extends through all the earth,
  their words to the utmost bounds of the world.
Their word goes forth through all the earth.

Second Reading
Galatians 1:11-20

The Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You must have heard of my career as a practising Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors.
  Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have written is the literal truth.

Gospel Acclamation 
Jn 21:17

Alleluia, alleluia!
Lord, you know everything:
you know I love you.

John 21:15-19

After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’
Jn 21:15-19 -- Jesus Reinstates Peter - Ġesù u Pietru

 Ġesù u Pietru
[Ġw:21:15] Wara li kielu xi ħaġa, Ġesù qal lil Xmun Pietru: "Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni int aktar minn dawn?" "Iva, Mulej," wieġbu, "int taf li nħobbok." Qallu: "Irgħa l-ħrief tiegħi." [Ġw:21:16] Staqsieh għat-tieni darba: "Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni int?" "Iva, Mulej," wieġbu,"int taf li nħobbok." Qallu: "Irgħa n-nagħaġ tiegħi." [Ġw:21:17] Għat-tielet darba staqsieh: "Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni?" Pietru ħass għafsa ta' qalb għax staqsieh għat-tielet darba, 'Tħobbni?' u qallu: "Mulej, int taf kollox, inti taf li nħobbok." Qallu Ġesù: "Irgħa n-nagħaġ tiegħi. Ġw:21:18] Tassew tassew ngħidlek, meta kont żagħżugħ, kont titħażżem waħdek u tmur fejn trid; imma meta tixjieħ, int tiftaħ idejk u ħaddieħor iħażżmek u jieħdok fejn ma tkunx trid!" [Ġw:21:19] Dan qalu biex ifisser b'liema mewta kien sejjer jagħti glorja lil Alla. Mbagħad Ġesù ssokta jgħidlu: "Ejja warajja."

Readings for the day of the feast: JUNE 29

First Reading
Acts 12:1-11
King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
  On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
  his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
  The humble shall hear and be glad.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Glorify the Lord with me.
  Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
  from all my terrors he set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Look towards him and be radiant;
  let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him
  and rescued him from all his distress.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
  around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
  He is happy who seeks refuge in him.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
  The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation 

Alleluia, alleluia!
You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.
And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.

Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

Mt 16:13-19 -- Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah - Stqarrija tal-fidi minn Pietru

[Mt:16:13] Meta wasal fl-inħawi ta' Ċesarija ta' Filippu, Ġesù staqsa  lid-dixxipli tiegħu u qalilhom: "Min jgħidu n-nies li hu Bin il-bniedem?" [Mt:16:14] U huma weġbuh: "Xi wħud, Ġwanni l-Battista; oħrajn, Elija; u oħrajn, Ġeremija jew wieħed mill-profeti. "[Mt:16:15] Imma intom min tgħidu li jien?" staqsiehom. [Mt:16:16] U qabeż Xmun Pietru u qallu: "Inti l-Messija, Bin Alla l-ħaj." [Mt:16:17] U Ġesù wieġbu u qallu: "Hieni int, Xmun bin Ġona, għax mhux bniedem tad-demm u l-laħam uriek dan, imma Missieri li hu fis-smewwiet. [Mt:16:18] U jiena ngħidlek: Inti Pietru, u fuq din il-blata jiena nibni l-Knisja tiegħi, u s-setgħat ta' l-infern ma jegħlbuhiex. [Mt:16:19] Jiena nagħtik l-imfietaħ tas-Saltna tas-Smewwiet, u kull ma torbot fuq l-art ikun marbut fis-smewwiet, u kull ma tħoll fuq l-art ikun maħlul fis-smewwiet."

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Catholic World News - June 29, 2015
In his Angelus address delivered in St. Peter’s Square on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis recalled that the two saints came from distant lands to proclaim the Gospel in Rome and that they remain examples of faith and charity today. St. Peter, the Pope recalled, knew the Blessed Virgin Mary and conversed with her before Pentecost, and St. Paul spoke of the Virgin in his Letter to the Galatians. “In the evangelization of the two Apostles here in Rome, there are also the roots of the deep and age-old devotion of the Romans to the Virgin, invoked especially as Salus Populi Romani,” Pope Francis said.


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