Feast of Sts Peter and Paul
On June 29th, we celebrated the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Peter, the rock, upon which Christ built His Church is a model of steadfastness and discipleship for each of us. He bacame a bold follower of Our Lord after he was renewed in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. St. Paul was comissioned by Christ to preach to those who were not of the Jewish community. After his baptism, he preached the gospel of Christ tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world.
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.”
First Martyrs of Holy Roman Church: June 30th
In July of 64 AD, a raging fire destroyed nearly two-thirds of Rome. Doubts arose about the emperor’s involvement when he showed no concern about the fire. To divert mounting suspicion from himself, Emperor Nero blamed Rome’s Christians. He had Christians arrested and executed. The Roman historian Tacitus said the protomartyrs were to be pitied, for they died not for the public good but for “one man’s brutality.” Some were crucified, while many more died gruesome deaths. It is likely that Sts. Peter and Paul died in this persecution; the memorial of these early martyrs of the Roman Church is now commemorated on the day after the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. According to the Church, these martyrs gave supreme testimony to the truth of the Christian faith, suffering even unto death (see CCC, no. 2473).