Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Matthew 16: 13-19
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/ ).
The Humble Lord of the Universe
The human world is remarkable in its long dramatic struggle between praising God and building things to His glory, and denying Him and building a world without God. I was very blessed this past Holy Week to return to Rome, where I had spent five years of my priestly formation. Perhaps it’s because I was born in New York that I so love Rome, the “Eternal City.” This time I especially loved visiting churches. I simply could not get enough of the beauty in the churches of Rome. Not least of them are the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul.
But the beauty of the churches is merely the overflow – in gorgeous marble and other precious stones, in splendid forms – of the glory of the God encountered in the person of Jesus Christ. No matter how splendid the altar, the heart of it is always the tabernacle with its humble vigil light, and in that tabernacle, the humble Lord of the Universe.
At the church of St. Peter in Chains, I marveled at the groups of people who were all agog at Michelangelo’s statue of Moses (the one with the horns), while – as it seems everywhere – there were only a handful of humble people who even acknowledge the Real Presence of that God before whom all human art is as nothing.
Refusing what she found an intimidating bath in Lourdes, Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor once wrote: “When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.” Indeed. And in Rome, as everywhere in the world, we adore and rejoice in the glory of the Eucharistic Lord, present in every tabernacle of the world, no matter how splendid or humble. And we rejoice in a special way in His special friends, whose lives and martyrdoms witness to His love throughout all the ages, on whom He built His Church.
—Fr. Raymond Gawronski, S.J.
Lord, sometimes we yearn for simpler days: less going on, less expected, and fewer choices. We need to remind ourselves that we have the power to simplify our lives. Lord, we know that when we are too busy to pray, we are too busy. Strengthen our resolve to put first things first, to say “no” to things that are not important, and to say “yes” to that which brings more peace and joy to our lives.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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