Today is the Feast of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul.
The Feast of a Church is not about stone, wood or mortar. It is a Feast of Christ and His body, the Church family.
Saints Peter and Paul are great Apostles, maybe the greatest. They were instrumental in the establishment of the early Church in different but complimentary ways.
Peter concentrated on ministering to Christians of Jewish background; the first Christians were almost all Jews.
Paul concentrated on ministering and preaching to pagan peoples, i.e. non-Jews.
They were very different men, with very different personalities. They even disagreed about some things and had different approaches to some aspects of early Church life.
However, they were united by a bond of love, by their faith and by their commitment to preaching the Gospel.
They both ended up in Rome, the centre of the Roman Empire and the world in which they found themselves in.
They both suffered martyrdom under the persecution of the Roman Emperor, Nero.
Peter was crucified and buried where the main altar of St. Peter’s Cathedral is now.
Paul was beheaded and buried where St. Paul Outside the Walls Cathedral is now.
Sadly, I see a certain lack of charity and respect given by some who disagree with others in the Church. In a family there will always be disagreements. Many Saints even disagreed on some things with each other.
The great Cardinal Newman, a convert to Catholicism, a man of great integrity, intellect and holiness, said “If the Pope does something wrong, God will deal with that. You will never see me being disrespectful to the successor of St. Peter”.
As St. Paul says ‘in all charity’.
“If I have faith in all its fullness, even to move mountains, but have no love it will do me no good whatsoever.”
Our Catholic faith owes a lot to Saints Peter and Paul.
We benefit from their legacy.
I pray that we all live up to our vocation as Christians and carry on the Christ-given mission of spreading the love of God and the good news of Jesus to all.