You are Peter, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Peter and Paul are the two great heroes of the Apostolic Age ‑ Peter for leading the first Christian communities and binding them in unity, a role that springs from his profession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, and Paul for travelling throughout the Roman Empire as the Apostle to the Gentiles, ensuring that the Gospel could be heard by all. They both ended up in Rome, the heart of the Empire, where they crowned their lives of witness by shedding their blood for Christ. As the ancient hymn for this feast day (“Decora Lux aeternitatis”) says: “”Rejoice, O Rome, this day; thy walls they once did sign With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee. What city’s vesture glows with crimson deep as thine? What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?” In celebrating the death of these apostles and martyrs, we celebrate the triumph of life and death offered fully to God.
I will bless the Lord at all times his praise always on my lips; in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. The humble shall hear and be glad. Glorify the Lord with me. Together let us praise his name. I sought the Lord and he answered me; from all my terrors he set me free. Look towards him and be radiant; let your faces not be abashed. This poor man called; the Lord heard him and rescued him from all his distress. The angel of the Lord is encamped around those who revere him, to rescue them. Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is happy who seeks refuge in him.
First Reading: Acts 12: 1-11
Second Reading: Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18
Gospel Reading: Matt 16: 13-19