Read Acts 12:1-11, Ps. 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18, Matthew 16:13-19
“I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Today, we remember St. Peter and St. Paul, the greatest names in the church’s early history. In our Gospel passage today, we see that Peter was the one to whom Jesus entrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven as the visible head of the Church. Meanwhile, Paul was the one Jesus arrested on the way to Damascus, making him a great apostle to the Gentile world.
While Peter represents tradition, authority, and unity, Paul represents grace, mercy, and humanity. St. Paul says today, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” These words underlie the nature of the Christian life. It is both a fight and a race at the same time.
The Christian life is a fight against the flesh and its craving for sin; a fight against the forces of darkness; a fight against worldliness; a fight against whatever makes us reject Christ. To win this fight against principalities and powers. St. Paul recommends that we put on the whole armour of God, which includes truth, righteousness as a breastplate, the gospel of peace, faith as a shield, salvation as a helmet, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:12-17).
The Christian life is also a race that requires constant training, dedication, and commitment. As St. Paul says, “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we, an imperishable wreath. Well, I do not run aimlessly or box as one beating the air, but I pommel my body and subdue it lest I be disqualified after preaching to others.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Today we celebrate the ultimate victory of the Apostles for their efforts to keep the faith despite their struggles. Herod arrested Peter intending to bring him to trial to publicly make fun of him, but the Angel of God set him free that night. Even if he would eventually die for the sake of the Gospel, this same incident proves that when we suffer for the sake of righteousness, we are never alone.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, as we celebrate the two great men who fought gallantly in laying the foundation of your church on earth, help us to follow diligently in their footsteps and win the race before us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, Bible Study: Acts 12:1-11, Ps. 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18, Matthew 16:13-19).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu