These two holy and martyred apostles were the great pillars of our Catholic faith. We know from the gospel that St. Peter was the first called by Jesus. He was the representative of the community of the disciples. He was chosen by Jesus as the `rock`. He was the first to profess that Jesus was the Messiah – the Son of God. However, he also denied the Lord three times. He stood as the speaker of the 12 but failed. But Jesus loved him to the end.  At the end of the gospel of St. John we can read the installation of St. Peter as the Shepherd of His flock. He became the shepherd of all peoples– the followers of Christ.

St. Paul was a pious and zealous Jew. He had great love for Yahweh. He was very faithful to follow Yahweh as God. But, then, he also failed. He persecuted the followers of Christ. He ordered to annihilate them all. Until such time that when he travelled on the Road to Damascus, he encountered the risen Christ. Christ asked him why he persecuted Him. That was the beginning of his own conversion as the new follower and believer of Christ. He made such an immense change in his life that he preached the gospel to the pagan nations. He wrote several letters as the living testimony of his missionary work. He became the apostle to the gentile nations in order that the Word of God may reach to the ends of the earth.

From their feast today, what can we learn from this? We learned many things already from them. We read many related articles about them. But what makes their feast relevant at present times? Now, as we read in the news on line, we always meet news bits about terror attacks. While I was inside Kenya Airport on the way to Bangkok, I saw on the screen the situation of Qatar. Several countries have cut ties with Qatar. Many flights have been canceled. Because this country as others said, supports terrorism. When I reached Bangkok waiting for the flight to Manila, I saw on the screen again the news of Marawi City in the southern part of the Philippines, that many civilians were trapped in their houses because of war between the military and the so called Maute group – the local terrorists. Up until now the Marawi siege is still on. There is no clear solution yet of the problem.

St. Peter and St. Paul were the pillars of our faith. They have been martyred because of this. Both made our faith relevant to the world in order that people may see the salvation of Christ. In the midst of this terror attacks and fears that proliferate in the world today, the example that these two holy men of faith show, can inspire to those who are civilians like each one of us wishing to live in a peaceful world. Their martyrdoms can be shown to those who are victims of the conflicts that the hope in God is always there. That they may feel that God has not abandoned them in their sufferings and in their times of need.

At this time, many parishes in the Philippines make second collections in their Sunday Masses to be sent to Marawi City. This is the expression of our Catholic faith, a concrete sign of solidarity to help the local people of Marawi rebuild their city. In the hope that the conflict will end very soon. And the people may go back to live in harmony and peace.

May St. Peter and St. Paul intercede for us!

*Note: According to ITCABIC, The Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul is a holyday of obligation and should be transferred to the following Sunday. This year, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul is celebrated on the 2nd July 2017.