This weekend St. Peter Parish is celebrating our patronal feast day, transferred to Sunday from June 29. This is permitted during the season of Ordinary Time so that more parishioners may participate in its observance.
Saint Peter usually receives the greater attention on this day. The First Reading and the Gospel are about Peter. In the Gospel Simon’s profession of faith in Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” merited for him not only a name change to Peter—a play on the word petra, meaning “rock”—but also the “keys to the Kingdom of heaven” and the power of binding and loosing. He was from the beginning recognized as the chief among the apostles. Since Peter was martyred in Rome, the bishop of that city came to be known as his successor and the chief among the bishops of the whole church. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, was celebrated on June 29 at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, built over the site of Peter’s burial, with the imposition of the pallium upon all metropolitan archbishops appointed in the past year.
We also celebrate the legacy of Saint Paul, converted from persecutor to apostle, from whom emanated the largest body of New Testament writings apart from the gospels. This first Christian missionary, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was inspired by God to proclaim the gospel persistently, whether convenient or inconvenient. (Cf. 2 Timothy 4:2) Writing from imprisonment in Rome, Paul looked back over his life’s ministry: “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” (Second Reading) We are the heirs of this legacy of faith, handed down to us by the Church. It is up to us to live by what we have received, so that this living evangelical tradition may continue.
At St. Charles today’s Gospel portrays two people of great faith: a woman afflicted with a hemorrhage and a synagogue official whose daughter was gravely ill. The woman was healed because of her faith (cf. Mark 5:34) and Jairus and his wife were told to “just have faith” when they received the report that their daughter had died. (Cf. Mark 5:36) Then Jesus awakened the girl as though she were asleep. In this he demonstrated his power as Son of God, who has power even over death. For we hear in today’s First Reading: “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living”; and in the Responsorial Psalm: “O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld.” The saving power of Jesus is accessible to all who trust in him. The lesson of today’s scriptures is simple: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
On Wednesday we will celebrate Independence Day. This is a great opportunity to celebrate what is good about America, too much of which we take for granted. Why not start the day with Mass at 8:30 at St. Charles to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and to pray for peace in the world! Mary, Patroness of Our Nation and Queen of Peace, pray for us!
May God bless his people with peace.