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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 06-28-14, SOL, Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Vigil Mass ^ | 06-28-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 06/28/2014 6:02:11 PM PDT by Salvation

June 29, 2014

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, Vigil Mass



Reading 1 Acts 3:1-10

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate”
every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw the man walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging
at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Reading 2 Gal 1:11-20

I want you to know, brothers and sisters,
that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin.
For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism,
how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure
and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism
beyond many of my contemporaries among my race,
since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.
But when God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart
and called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem
to those who were Apostles before me;
rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem
to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.
But I did not see any other of the Apostles,
only James the brother of the Lord.
--As to what I am writing to you, behold,
before God, I am not lying.

Gospel Jn 21:15-19

Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples
and, when they had finished breakfast, said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; ordinarytime; prayer; saints
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1 posted on 06/28/2014 6:02:11 PM PDT by Salvation
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3 posted on 06/28/2014 6:12:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 3:1-10

Cure of a Man Lame from Birth

[1] Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the
ninth hour. [2] And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid
daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those
who entered the temple. [3] Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms. [4] And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said,
“Look at us.” [5] And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive
something from them. [6] But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give
you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” [7] And he took
him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles
were made strong. [8] And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the tem-
ple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [9] And all the people saw
him walking and praising God, [10] and recognized him as the one who sat for
alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder at
what had happened to him.


1. This was the hour of the evening sacrifice, which began around three o’clock
and was attended by a large number of devout Jews. The ritual, which went on
until dusk, was the second sacrifice of the day. The earlier one, on similar
lines, began at dawn and lasted until nine in the morning.

2. None of the documents that have come down to us which describe the Tem-
ple mentions a gate of this name. It was probably the Gate of Nicanor (or Corin-
thian Gate), which linked the court of the Gentiles with the court of the women
which led on to the court of the Israelites. It was architecturally a very fine struc-
ture and because of its location it was a very busy place, which would have
made it a very good place for begging.

3-8. The cure of this cripple was the first miracle worked by the Apostles. “This
cure”, says St. John Chrysostom, “testifies to the resurrection of Christ, of which
it is an image. [...] Observe that they do not go up to the temple with the inten-
tion of performing the miracle, so clear were they of ambition, so closely did they
imitate their Master” (”Hom. on Acts”, 8).

However, the Apostles decide that the time has come to use the supernatural
power given them by God. What Christ did in the Gospel using His own divine po-
wer, the Apostles now do in His name, using His power. “The blind receive their
sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised
up” (Luke 7:22). Our Lord now keeps His promise to empower His disciples to
work miracles—visible signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. These mira-
cles are not extraordinary actions done casually or suddenly, without His disci-
ples’ involvement: they occur because our Lord is moved to perform them by the
Apostles’ faith (faith is an essential pre-condition). The disciples are conscious
of having received a gift and they act on foot of it.

These miracles in the New Testament obviously occur in situations where grace
is intensely concentrated. However, that is not to say that miracles do not con-
tinue to occur in the Christian economy of salvation—miracles of different kinds,
performed because God is attracted to men and women of faith. “The same is
true of us. If we struggle daily to become saints, each of us in his own situation
in the world and through his own job or profession, in our ordinary lives, then I
assure you that God will make us into instruments that can work miracles and,
if necessary, miracles of the most extraordinary kind. We will give sight to the
blind. Who could not relate thousands of cases of people, blind almost from the
day they were born, recovering their sight and receiving all the splendor of Christ’s
light? And others who were deaf, or dumb, who could not hear or pronounce words
fitting to God’s children.... Their senses have been purified and now they hear and
speak as men, not animals. “In nomine Iesu!” In the name of Jesus His Apostles
enable the cripple to move and walk, when previously he had been incapable of
doing anything useful; and that other lazy character, who knew his duties but
didn’t fulfill them. [...] In the Lord’s name, “surge et ambula!”, rise up and walk.

“Another man was dead, rotting, smelling like a corpse: he hears God’s voice, as
in the miracle of the son of the widow at Naim: ‘Young man, I say to you, rise up’.
We will work miracles like Christ did, like the first Apostles did” (St. J. Escriva,
“Friends of God”, 262).

Miracles call for cooperation — faith — on the part of those who wish to be cured.
The lame man does his bit, even if it is only the simple gesture of obeying Peter
and looking at the Apostles.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 06/28/2014 6:18:52 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Galatians 1:11-20

God’s Call

[11] For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by
me is not man’s gospel. [12] For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

[13] For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church
of God violently and tried to destroy it; [14] and I advanced in Judaism beyond ma-
ny of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions
of my fathers. [15] But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had
called me through his grace, [16] was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order
that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood,
[17] nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I
went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus.

[18] Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained
with him fifteen days. [19] But I saw none of the other apostles except James the
Lord’s brother. [20] (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)


11-12. “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10), Paul asked at the moment of his
conversion. Jesus replied, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be
told all that is appointed for you to do” (ibid.). The former persecutor, now under
the influence of grace, will receive instruction and Baptism through the ordinary
course of divine Providence—from a man, Ananias. Thereby Jesus led him to hu-
mility, obedience and abandonment. The Gospel which St Paul preached was i-
dentical with that preached by the other Apostles, and already had the character
of “tradition” in the nascent Church (cf. 1 Cor 15:3; Gal 2:2). This is compatible
with Paul’s claim—made in this passage—that his Gospel does not come from
any man but through a revelation from Jesus Christ. Firstly, because on seeing
the risen Christ he was given supernatural light to understand that Jesus was not
only the Messiah but also the Son of God; and also because this first revelation
was followed by many others to which he refers in his epistles (cf. 1 Cor 11:23;
13:3-8 and especially 2 Cor 12:1-4).

St Paul’s was a unique case, because normally a person came to know the Gos-
pel of Christ by receiving it or learning it from those who had seen Christ during
his life on earth and listened to his teachings. This was what happened in St
Luke’s case, for example (cf. Lk 1:2). St Paul still felt the need to go to Jeru-
salem to hear the Apostles’ preaching (cf. below 1:16-18), especially that of St

13-14. The Acts of the Apostles tell us about Paul’s religious zeal; a Pharisee,
he had studied under Gamaliel (cf. Acts 22:3; Phil 3:5) and had consented to
and been present at the martyrdom of Stephen (cf. Acts 7:58; 8:1). Saul had
stood out as a persecutor of Christians, so keen was he to seek them out and
imprison them, even going beyond Judea to do so (cf. Acts 9:1-2). Clearly he
had been a man convinced of his Jewish faith, a zealous keeper of the Law,
and proud to be a Jew (cf. Rom 11:1 ; 2 Cor 11:22). Such was the fear the early
Christians had of him that they could not bring themselves to believe in his con-
version (cf. Acts 9:26). However, this same fervor and passion, to use St Augus-
tine’s comparison (cf. “Contra Faustum”, XXII, 70) was like a dense jungle — a
serious obstacle and yet an indication of immensely fertile soil. Our Lord sowed
the seed of the Gospel in that soil and it produced a very rich crop.

Everyone, no matter how irregular his life may have been, can produce good re-
sults like this—with the help of grace, which does not displace nature but heals
and purifies it, and then raises and perfects it: Courage! You...can! Don’t you see
what God’s grace did with sleepy-headed Peter, the coward who had denied him
..., and with Paul, his fierce and relentless persecutor?” (St. J. Escriva, “The
Way”, 483).

15-16. More than once in Scripture we read about God choosing certain people
for special missions even when they were still in their mother’s womb (cf. Jer 1:5;
Is 49:1-5; Lk 1:15; etc.). This emphasizes the fact that God makes a gratuitous
choice: there is no question of the person’s previous merits contributing to God’s
decision. Vocation is a supernatural divine gift, which God has planned from all
eternity. When God made his will known on the road to Damascus (cf. Acts 9:
3-6), St Paul “did not confer with flesh and blood”, that is, did not seek advice
from anyone, because he was absolutely sure that God himself had called him.
Nor did he consent to the prudence of the flesh, seeking to “play safe”: his self-
surrender was immediate, total and unconditional. When the Apostles heard Je-
sus inviting them to follow him, they “immediately left their nets” (Mt 4:20, 22;
Mk 1:18) and followed the Master, leaving everything behind (cf. Lk 5:11). We
see the same thing happening in Saul’s case: he responds immediately. If he
makes his way to Ananias, he does so on the explicit instructions of Jesus—in
order to receive instruction and Baptism and to discover what his mission is to
be (Acts 9:15-16).

God’s call, therefore, should receive an immediate response. “Consider the faith
and obedience of the Apostles”, St John Chrysostom says. “They are in the
midst of their work (and you know how attractive fishing is!). When they hear his
command, they do not vacillate or lose any time: they do not say, ‘Let’s go home
and say goodbye to our parents.’ No, they leave everything and follow him [...].
That is the kind of obedience Christ asks of us — not to delay even a minute, no
matter how important the things that might keep us” (”Hom. on St Matthew”, 14,
2). And St Cyril of Alexandria comments: “For Jesus also said, ‘No one who puts
his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God’, and he
looked back who asked permission to return home and speak to his parents. But
we see that the holy Apostles did not act in that way; rather they followed Jesus,
immediately leaving the boat and their parents behind. Paul also acted immedia-
tely. He ‘did not confer with flesh and blood’. That is how those who want to fol-
low Christ must act” (”Commentarium in Lucam”, 9).

A person has a duty to follow Christ even if his relatives are opposed to his doing
so or want him to delay making a final decision, perhaps because they feel that
would be the more (humanly) prudent course: “A person should honor his parents,
but God he should obey. We should love the one who has begotten us, but the
first place should be given to him who created us”, St Augustine says, not min-
cing words (”Sermon 100”).

Even if we are unsure as to whether we are strong enough to persevere, this
should not delay us or concern us: it should simply lead us to pray confidently
for God’s help, because, as Vatican II teaches, when God calls a person, he
“must reply without taking counsel with flesh and blood and must give himself
fully to the work of the Gospel. However, such an answer can only be given with
the encouragement and help of the Holy Spirit [...]. Therefore, he must be pre-
pared to remain faithful to his vocation for life, to renounce himself and everything
that up to this he possessed as his own, and to make himself ‘all things to all
men’ (1 Cor 9:22)” (”Ad Gentes”, 24).

17-20. After a period of time devoted to penance and prayer, St Paul made his
way to Jerusalem (cf. Acts 9:26-30) to see Cephas, that is, Peter. His stay of
two weeks is an important indication of Paul’s recognition of and veneration for
Peter, chosen as he had been as the foundation stone of the Church.

In subsequent generations, right down the centuries, Christians have shown their
love for Peter and his successors, traveling to Rome often at great personal effort
and sometimes, even, risk. “Catholic, apostolic, “Roman”! I want you to be very
Roman. And to be anxious to make your ‘path to Rome’, “videre Petrum” — to see
Peter (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 520). Solidarity with and veneration for the Pope
is, then, a clear, practical sign of good Christian spirit.

“James the Lord’s brother” (cf. notes on Mt 12:46-47 and 13:55) is, most com-
mentators think, James the Less (cf. Mk 15:40), also called the son of Alphaeus
(cf. Lk 6:15) and author of the letter which bears his name (cf. Jas 1:1).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 06/28/2014 6:20:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 21:15-19

Peter’s Primacy

[15] When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son
of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know
that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” [16] A second time He said
to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord, you
know I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” [17] He said to him the third
time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said
to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know
everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. [18]
Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked
where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and
another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” [19] (This He
said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this He said to him,
“Follow Me.”


15-17. Jesus Christ had promised Peter that he would be the primate of the
Church (cf. Matthew 16:16-19 and note on the same). Despite his three denials
during our Lord’s passion, Christ now confers on him the primacy He promised.

“Jesus questions Peter, three times, as if to give him a triple chance to atone for
his triple denial. Peter has learned his lesson from the bitter experience of his
wretchedness. Aware of his weakness, he is deeply convinced that rash claims
are pointless. Instead he puts everything in Christ’s hands. ‘Lord, You know well
that I love You” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 267). The primacy was given to
Peter directly and immediately. So the Church has always understood—and so
Vatican I defined: “We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testi-
mony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God
was immediately an directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle
by Christ our Lord. [...] And it was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after His
resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all His fold in
the words: “Feed My lambs; feed My sheep” (”Pastor Aeternus”, Chapter 1).

The primacy is a grace conferred on Peter and his successors, the popes; it is
one of the basic elements in the Church, designed to guard and protect its unity:
“In order that the episcopate also might be one and undivided, and that [...] the
multitude of the faithful might be kept secure in the oneness of faith and com-
munion, He set Blessed Peter over the rest of the Apostles, and fixed in him the
abiding principle of this twofold unity, and its visible foundation” (”Pastor Aeternus,
Dz-Sch 3051”; cf. Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 18). Therefore, the primacy of
Peter is perpetuated in each of his successors: this is something which Christ
disposed; it is not based on human legislation or custom.

By virtue of the primacy, Peter, and each of his successors, is the shepherd of
the whole Church and vicar of Christ on earth, because he exercises vicariously
Christ’s own authority. Love for the Pope, whom St. Catherine of Siena used to
call “the sweet Christ on earth”, should express itself in prayer, sacrifice and

18-19. According to Tradition, St. Peter followed his Master to the point of dying
by crucifixion, head downwards, “Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome
during Nero’s persecution of Christians, which took place between the years 64
and 68. St. Clement, the successor of the same Peter in the See of the Church
of Rome, recalls this when, writing to the Corinthians, he puts before them ‘the
generous example of these two athletes’: ‘due to jealousy and envy, those who
were the principal and holiest columns suffered persecution and fought the fight
unto death’” (Paul VI, “Petrum Et Paulum”).

“Follow Me!”: these words would have reminded the Apostle of the first call he
received (cf. Matthew 4:19) and of the fact that Christ requires of His disciples
complete self-surrender: “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself
and take up the Cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). St. Peter himself, in
one of his letters, also testifies to the Cross being something all Christians must
carry: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

6 posted on 06/28/2014 6:20:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

These readings are for the Vigil Mass on the evening before the feast:

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ©

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.


Psalm 18:2-5 ©

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God,

  and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.

Day unto day takes up the story

  and night unto night makes known the message.

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard

  yet their span extends through all the earth,

  their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

Their word goes forth through all the earth.

Second reading

Galatians 1:11-20 ©

The Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You must have heard of my career as a practising Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors.

  Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have written is the literal truth.

Gospel Acclamation


Alleluia, alleluia!

Lord, you know everything:

you know I love you.



John 21:15-19 ©

After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

when you were young

you put on your own belt

and walked where you liked;

but when you grow old

you will stretch out your hands,

and somebody else will put a belt round you

and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

These readings are for the day of the feast itself:

First reading

Acts 12:1-11 ©

King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.

  On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’


Psalm 33:2-9 ©

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.


The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

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.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.


The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

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.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.


The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

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.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.


The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

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.

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.


The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

Second reading

2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18 ©

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

  The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation


Alleluia, alleluia!

You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.

And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.



Matthew 16:13-19 ©

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

7 posted on 06/28/2014 6:37:45 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Here’s wishing everyone reading this thread a peaceful evening and a good night’s rest.

8 posted on 06/28/2014 6:39:16 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: All
Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
9 posted on 06/28/2014 6:42:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
10 posted on 06/28/2014 6:43:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve, June 21 to July 4, 2014
11 posted on 06/28/2014 6:44:18 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Jesus, High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

12 posted on 06/28/2014 7:05:32 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Joyful Mysteries
(Mondays and Saturdays)

1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) [Spiritual fruit - Humility]
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56) [Spiritual fruit - Love of Neighbor]
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20) [Spiritual fruit - Poverty of Spirit]
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38) [Spiritual fruit - Purity of mind & body]
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) [Spiritual fruit - Obedience ]

13 posted on 06/28/2014 7:06:33 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

14 posted on 06/28/2014 7:08:26 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"



Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.

15 posted on 06/28/2014 7:31:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

June Devotion: The Sacred Heart

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of June is set apart for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "From among all the proofs of the infinite goodness of our Savior none stands out more prominently than the fact that, as the love of the faithful grew cold, He, Divine Love Itself, gave Himself to us to be honored by a very special devotion and that the rich treasury of the Church was thrown wide open in the interests of that devotion." These words of Pope Pius XI refer to the Sacred Heart Devotion, which in its present form dates from the revelations given to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673-75.

The devotion consists in the divine worship of the human heart of Christ, which is united to His divinity and which is a symbol of His love for us. The aim of the devotion is to make our Lord king over our hearts by prompting them to return love to Him (especially through an act of consecration by which we offer to the Heart of Jesus both ourselves and all that belongs to us) and to make reparation for our ingratitude to God.


O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the characteristic note of the piety of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Benedictine nun and renowned mystic. She was, in fact, the first great exponent of devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our efforts to honor the Heart of Jesus we have this prayer as a model for our own:
Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, 0 my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen.
Saint Gertrude


O most holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon Thy holy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff and upon all the clergy; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the holy souls in purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love. Amen.


O God, who didst in wondrous manner reveal to the virgin, Margaret Mary, the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart, grant that loving Thee, after her example, in all things and above all things, we may in Thy Heart find our abiding home.
Roman Missal


Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It for ever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine;
pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all m] wrong-doing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen.
Cardinal Merry del Val

Remember, O most sweet Jesus, that no one who has had recourse to Thy Sacred Heart, implored its help, or sought its mercy was ever abandoned. Encouraged with confidence, O tenderest of hearts, we present ourselves before Thee, crushed beneath the weight of our sins. In our misery, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, despise not our simple prayers, but mercifully grant our requests. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Only for Love: The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood [Catholic Caucus]

Catholic Word of the Day: LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART, 10-19-09
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Devotion to the Sacred Heart Today
The Biblical Foundation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus [Ecumenical]
Heart to Heart (Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion) [St. Margaret Mary Alacoque]
(June) The Month of the Sacred Heart {Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus [St. Margaret Mary Alacoque]
The Heart of the World (On the Sacred Heart of Jesus) (Catholic Caucus)
The Sacred Heart Is The Holy Eucharist(Catholic Caucus)
The Origin of the Sacred Heart Badge

Importance of Devotion to the Sacred Heart
An Awesome Homily on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Father Edmond Kline
Catholic Prayer and Devotion: June the Month of the Sacred Heart
Catholic Devotions: Sacred Heart of Jesus
Pope Urges Jesuits to Spread Sacred Heart Devotion
Homilies preached by Father Altier on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Catholic Meditation and Devotion: The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Daily Recomendation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus powerful prayer!
The Sacred Heart and the Eucharist
The Love of the Sacred Heart

On the Sacred Heart - "We Adore God's Love of Humanity"
HAURIETIS AQUAS (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart) - Encyclical by Pope Pius XII
Solemnity Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sacred Heart a Feast of God's Love, Says John Paul II
The Sacred Heart of Jesus: Symbol of Combativity and the Restoration of Christendom
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus-The Early Church, Middle Ages up to St. Margaret Mary
See this Heart
‘God Will Act and Will Reign’
About Devotion To The Sacred Heart:The Story Of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Rediscover Feast of Sacred Heart, John Paul II Tells Youth


"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."

- Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary

Our Lord also made 12 promises to St. Margaret Mary for those that are devoted to His Sacred Heart.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
  2. I will give peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
  9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
  12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.

16 posted on 06/28/2014 7:32:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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June 2014 Year A

Pope's Intentions

Universal: That the unemployed may receive support and find the work they need to live in dignity.

For Evangelization: That Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers.

17 posted on 06/28/2014 7:39:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Gospel Commentary

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, apostles - Solemnity

Commentary of the day
Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk
Sermon 18, for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul ; PL 195, 298

"Upon this rock I will build my church"

“Though the earth and all who dwell in it quake, I have set firm its pillars” (Ps 74[75],40). All the apostles are pillars of the earth but, at their head, the two whose feast we are celebrating. They are the two pillars who support the Church with their teaching, their prayer and the example of their steadfastness. The Lord himself strengthened these pillars. For at first they were weak, completely incapable of supporting either themselves or others. And in this the Lord's great design appears: it they had always been strong people could have thought their strength came from themselves. That is why the Lord wanted to show what they were capable of before strengthening them, so that all might know their strength came from God... Peter was thrown to the ground by the voice of a mere servant... and the other pillar was very weak too: “I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and an arrogant man” (1Tm 1,13)...

Hence we must ought to praise these saints with all our heart: our fathers who bore such trials for the Lord's sake and who persevered with such determination. It is nothing to persevere in joy, happiness and peace. But this is what is great: to be stoned, scourged, struck for Christ (2Cor 11,25) and in all this to persevere with Christ. With Paul it is a great thing to be cursed and to bless, to be persecuted and to endure, to be slandered and to console, to be like the world's rubbish and to draw glory from it (1Cor 4,12-13)... And what shall we say of Peter? Even if he had undergone nothing for Christ, it would be sufficient to celebrate him today in that he was crucified for him... He well knew where he whom he loved, he whom he longed for was...: his cross has been his road to heaven.

18 posted on 06/28/2014 7:41:51 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Arlington Catholic Herald


A cry of the heart

Fr. Paul D. Scalia


The month of June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During this time, the church calls us to reflect on His Heart as the symbol not only of His love for us but also of His loneliness and suffering due to our neglect. As He said to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the apostle of the Sacred Heart: “Behold the heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude.” Good words to consider on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

Then, just two days later this year, on the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, we hear a similar plaintive cry: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15). Our Lord asks this question certainly to elicit Simon Peter’s profound confession of faith: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). And we cannot overstate the doctrinal implications of the question and its necessary answer. But we should also hear His words another way — not as God quizzing men but as the God-Man appealing to men. We can hear them as a cry from a man’s heart — in this case, from the Sacred Heart.

 “Who do you say that I am?” We all desire to be known by those we love. Love seeks to be reciprocated and therefore shared. Knowing the other and being known is essential. Thus we seek to console those we love by saying “I know” or “I understand.” Those words do not alleviate the pain or remove its cause. But they bring relief by assuring the suffering that they are not alone. Great pain can be endured if we know that we are accompanied by those who know and understand us. The greatest pain and loneliness come when one is not known, not understood.

Every man desires to be known by those he loves. And our Lord is no exception. “Who do you say that I am?” When He asks this question He had already been preaching, teaching and healing for some time. He had just heard — with dismay — the weak answer to His question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The crowds who followed Him so eagerly did not know Him. They thought He was someone else. So He turns to His closest friends, the apostles, His constant companions, and hoping to find some solace in their understanding — that they, at least, got it — He asks, “Who do you say that I am?”

The question has a corollary at the end of our Lord’s “bread of life” discourse. Watching the murmuring crowds abandon Him, He again turns to the apostles and asks, “Do you also want to leave?” (Jn 6:67). At that moment also His heart cries out for someone who would know and accompany Him. At that moment also Peter steps forward for all the apostles and consoles the Sacred Heart: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the holy one of God” (Jn 6:68-69).

“Who do you say that I am?” Our response to this question certainly determines our faith and our very salvation. But it also has great meaning for Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. Our faithful response consoles Him, brings some degree of relief to His loneliness and suffering. The Sacred Heart teaches us that coming to know Jesus Christ is not just a matter of catechesis or providing for our own salvation. Coming to know Him — indeed, merely desiring to know Him — comforts Him for all the neglect and indifference He suffers.

“Who do you say that I am?” We learn how to respond to this question from the two apostles who close out the month of June. St. Peter’s doctrinal response — “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” — shows that a simple act of faith pleases and consoles the one who came to give Himself to us. St. Paul’s intense longing — “That I may know Him,” (Phil 3:10) — teaches us that coming to know Jesus is ongoing. At no point should we stop desiring to know Him.

In a profound sense, Our Lord must suffer the loneliness of not being entirely known. No one can know Him perfectly. And yet, amazingly, our simple faith and our mere desire to know Him consoles His Sacred Heart. Peter’s inspired response and Paul’s longing brought Him genuine joy and consolation. May we imitate the apostles in our profession of faith and our striving to know Him more.

Fr. Scalia is Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s delegate for clergy.

19 posted on 06/28/2014 8:22:11 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Five Facts of Faith from the Life of St. Peter – A Homily for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

Today’s Feast of Saints Peter and Paul honors two fundamental pillars of the early Church. While all the Apostles form the foundation, Peter and Paul stand out very profoundly in terms of influence and work. And while some have wished to suggest division between them, the Church insists that they must been seen together; hence their feast is set forth in this way.

Indeed, those who see division between them base it on only one text from Galatians (2:11) wherein St. Paul withstood Peter so as to correct him. Peter had taught rightly concerning the inclusion of the Gentiles but, at least according to St. Paul’s report, he struggled to associate with them more freely and was fearful of the Judaizers. Yes, even popes are not beyond reproach. We argue that popes are prevented from formally teaching error in faith or morals (Peter did not teach erroneously), not that they are sinless.

Nevertheless, the same Paul had gone to visit St. Peter in order to get to know him  (Gal 1:18) and later submitted his teachings to Peter and others in Jerusalem for scrutiny  (Gal 2:1-10). And at the Council of Jerusalem, Paul and Peter were allies (Acts 15).

Thus we ought not exaggerate differences beyond the evidence. The Church today bids us to celebrate them together.

Many different approaches to the reading could be taken today. But since the chief work of the Church and the Apostles is to draw us to faith, it behooves us to look in detail at the first reading from today’s Mass and see in it a kind of roadmap to growing in faith. Peter’s story and experience were not just for him; they were for us as well. Let’s see what we can learn as we focus on five facts of faith from the story of St. Peter in today’s first reading.

I. The Persecution of Faith - Persecution is the normal state of affairs for a Christian. Not every Christian suffers equally at every stage and place in history, but Jesus spoke often about the need to be willing to endure persecution for His sake. He said, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (Jn 15:20). He added, If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (Jn 15:19). He said elsewhere, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). He also warns, Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets (Lk 6:26).

And therefore, persecution should be expected. If it is wholly absent, we may have some soul-searching to do as to whether we are witnessing to the Faith authentically.

And so, in this passage, we should not be surprised to see how the early Church was persecuted. In this Gospel is described the persecution, driven by Herod, that breaks out in Jerusalem. In this persecution, James, (of “Peter, James, and John” fame) is killed! Peter is also rounded up and slated for death. Sitting in prison, he awaits his fate.

Note the strange excessiveness of the persecution. Peter is secured with double chains and is forced to sleep between two soldiers. And outside there are even more guards keep watch. Wowza! Here’s a persecution that is strangely excessive and obviously rooted in no small degree of fear!

And yet as we look at persecution today, we notice something similar. There seems to be a very special hatred for Christians, especially Catholics. Note for example that in the public school system it is permissible to speak about almost anything: how to use condoms, homosexuality, and even certain religions such as Islam. But if the name of Jesus is even mentioned, or Scripture is even obliquely referenced, lawsuits are threatened and television cameras appear! What is this strange fear and hatred for Christ? Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Zoroastrians, and even Methodists and Episcopalians do not face similar hostility!

While this animosity is somewhat mysterious, it does speak to us of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and particularly of the Church He founded: the Catholic Church. Satan surely inspires special hatred for Jesus and His Church. So in a certain sense, we can take it as a sign of credibility—even as a compliment. Perhaps too, it is the fact that deep down, they know that what Jesus and His Church teaches is right.

The prince of this world hates Jesus, and has always inspired his followers to do so as well, whether consciously or unconsciously. Yes, persecution is a natural, expected ordeal for a Christian.

II. The Prayer of Faith - In the midst of this, we note that the Church is described as praying fervently to God. The Greek word translated here as fervent is ἐκτενῶς (ektenos),  which means “fully stretched.” It is the image of a taught rope that is invoked. Here is prayer that is stretched out, that is costly, that involves more than a brief moment or two. Here is praying that is persevering. This sort of prayer involves more than an honorable mention in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. Here is the sort of prayer that involves long hours. Time is invested; effort is expended; energy is invested. It is the sort of prayer that nags God until the solution is at hand.

There is an expression in the African-American community, “by and by.” It refers to the need to be patient and persevering in prayer while waiting for God to answer “by and by.” In other words, God will answer in His own time. It is for us to keep praying. And here is prayer without ceasing; it does not give way to discouragement, but just keeps on praying.

III. The Prescription of Faith -  In the midst of this fervent prayer of the Church, a hidden process begins. An angel is dispatched from Heaven, enters the jail, and comes to Peter. His instructions to Peter amount to a kind a prescription for a life of faith, and we note it in four stages:

A. Rise! - The angel says, “Get up”. Here is a call to rise from death, to rise from despairing and doubt, to stand up! Every Christian must die to sin and rise to new life, must die to slavery and despair and rise as a free and active agent, ready to walk with God.

B. Restrain - The angel then tells him to put on his belt (or cincture).  The belt (cincture) is traditionally a sign of chastity and of continence (restraint). The Christian life cannot be riddled with unchasteness or with other excesses of this world such as greed, gluttony, and other forms of intemperance. These hinder the journey; they weigh us down. And thus the instruction to tighten our belt.

C. Ready - Peter is also told to put on his sandals. Here is a symbol of readiness to make a journey. When I was a child, my mother would often signal me by saying, “Put on your shoes and get ready to go.”  And thus Christians must be ready to make the journey with their feet shod with the gospel of peace, with their shoes on and ready to set out on the great pilgrimage with Jesus to Heaven. The pilgrimage goes up over the hill of Calvary and over into glory. Put your shoes on and get ready to go!

D. Righteous - Peter is then told to put on his cloak. The robe in Scripture is often equated with righteousness. For example the book of Revelation says it was given to the bride to be clothed in fine linen. The text goes on to say that the linen robe is the righteousness of the Saints (Rev 19:8). There is also the parable of the wedding guests, one of whom was not properly clothed, and was therefore thrown out (Mat 22:11). At a Baptism, the priest points to the white garment worn by the infant and tells everyone to see in this white garment the outward sign of his or her Christian dignity, and that the child is to bring this garment unstained to the great judgment seat of Christ. Thus the instruction of the angel reminds us that every Christian is to be clothed in righteousness, and is to be careful to keep this robe, given by God, unsoiled by the things of this world.

E. Run ! - Finally, there is the command of the angel to “Follow me.” In other words, run the race of faith. Toward the end of his life, St. Paul would say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).  Jesus told his disciples, simply, “Follow me.”

IV. The Procession of Faith- Following this there comes a series of instructions from the angel to Peter (and also to us). These instructions amount to a type of direction to make the procession of faith. We see three things:

A. Not easy – The text says that they passed the first guard, then a second, and finally came to an iron gate. And thus in our journey, there are obstacles and dangers. We must recall that we live in paradise lost. Life is not easy; it is hard. There are hurdles and perils. We are not called to avoid them, we are called the face them with courage. God allows these in our life in order to test us, to see if we will follow Peter’s example and move past the one guard, then the second, and then the apparently locked gate (which God opens for us). Life is not easy, but God’s grace conquers the challenge, if we only trust Him.

B. Narrow – The text here describes a narrow alley through which Peter and the angel pass. Jesus spoke of the way that leads to salvation as a narrow way (e.g., Mat 7:14). Why is this so? Because the narrow way is the cross! Most are not interested in this difficult path, the path that is steep and narrow. Most look for the broad highway through the valley, the easy way. The world still insists that we live in paradise (which Adam rejected) and that life should be easy. It is a lie; the path now is over the hill of Calvary. It is a narrow and steep path,  but it is the only true way to glory. Avoid preachers who never mention sin, who never speak of repentance, who never speak of struggles and difficulties. Avoid them;  for the tuning fork, the A440 of the Gospel is the cross. There are glories and joys in this life to be sure, but the fundamental path to Heaven and glory is through the cross. It cannot be avoided. Walk the narrow way, the way of the cross. Do not listen to the “prosperity preachers” who exaggerate one truth, excluding all others.

C. Need an angel – As soon as Peter emerges from the prison and out into the openness of freedom, the angel disappears. But until this point, he needed an angel! And so do we. Though demons are roaming and patrolling this earth, so are God’s Angels. We all have an angel assigned to us, and many other angels along the way to help us. Never forget this. We do not journey alone. For every demon, there are two angels (Rev 9:15). Stop fearing demons and call on God’s angels, trusting in God’s grace.

V. The Product of Faith -  There comes finally the product of faith wherein Peter is able to confidently assert, Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me (Acts 12:11). Do you know this? Or is it only true because others have said so? Do you experience God’s saving glory? Have you experienced him rescue you? How? Do you have a testimony? The normal Christian life is to know and experience that our God can and does rescue us from this hell-bound, sin-soaked world. We have a God who can make a way out of no way, and can, as St. Paul says, Rescue us from this present evil age (Gal 1:4). Do you know this? Have you experienced this? Then tell someone! It is the product of faith!

20 posted on 06/28/2014 8:42:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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