Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Saint Peter & Saint Paul

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Peter and Paul

Today we celebrate the feast of these two great apostles, Peter and Paul, who from earliest days have been venerated together as twin pillars of the Church. In martyrdom they gave united witness to their love for Christ, though in life they had been quite different in their ways of serving Christ and the Church. Simon, renamed Peter the Rock, who had denied Christ on the night of his arrest, was nonetheless given responsibility for strengthening his brethren in faith and for keeping them together in unity. Paul, the missionary extraordinary, who had previously persecuted Christ in his disciples, was called by Christ to make known to pagans the good news of salvation.

It is significant that we celebrate one Feast of Peter and Paul. They shared a common loyalty to Christ while in his name they exercised different though complementary roles. Each had his own place in the formation of the Church: Peter providing strength and security, Paul providing movement and adaptation. Together they represent essential and complementary aspects of the Church - institution and outreach, conservation and development, unity and diversity, stability and movement. Unbalanced emphasis on some aspects could lead to stagnation - and on others to disintegration. Peter and Paul together present a Church both united and dynamic.

As we joyfully celebrate their feast, we celebrate also our own belonging and fidelity to the Church they stand for. Under the leadership of the successor of Peter we pray for firm faith and visible unity. In the Spirit of Paul we commit ourselves as part of a missionary Church which wants to make Christ known to the modern world.