Like Peter And Paul, stand firm in faith to the end!

Thu, Jun 29, 2023
By editor
5 MIN READ

Religion

By Rev. Fr. Uzochukwu Ejike Obu 

_(Thursday 29th June 2023. 1st Reading: Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34, 2nd Reading: 2nd Timothy 4:6-18, Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19)_

_“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day…” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)_

As Christians, our ultimate desire is to be reunited with our Maker and Creator after our sojourn here on earth.

To be able to attain this goal, however, we need to stand firm in our faith till the end. 

This is the story of Saints Peter and Paul, two of the greatest pillars of the early church, whose feasts the church celebrates today.

The life of Saints Peter and Paul teach us that the Christian life is tough, full of challenges and hardships, yet, it contains a lot of great rewards.

In his second letter to Timothy, *Paul describes the Christian life as a fight and a race.* It is not a fight against flesh and blood, but a fight against sin and evil. To win, this fight requires a dress code – the belt of truth, the shield of righteousness, shoes of the Gospel, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and so on. (Cf. Ephesians 6:13-18).

The Christian life is also race; a race to be perfect as God is perfect. Just as “athletes exercise self-control in all things to receive a perishable wreath,” we must discipline ourselves to win the imperishable crown of glory. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). We must learn to control ourselves!

St Peter was first called by Christ. Jesus handed the Leadership of the Church over to him. We see this in today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 16:17-18). On the other hand, St Paul was called after the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. He was arrested dramatically when he was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians (Acts 9:1-19). When he became a Christian, the apostle Paul became a great warrior for the kingdom of Christ. The second reading has this to say: “I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance (2 Timothy 4:7-8). 

The Qualities of Saints Peter and Paul to be emulated:

_First, they encountered Christ and were never the same again._ Peter was a fisherman. He left everything to follow Christ (Matthew 4:18-22). Paul was a devout Jew vasted in the law of Moses. When he encountered Jesus Christ, he became a great Pillar in the Church (Acts 9:1-19). Have you encountered Christ personally?

_Second, they both had zeal for God._ The hunger to defend the teachings of God handed over to Moses led Paul to persecute the Christians until the veil covering his eyes were opened. We need to sincerely repent from our sinful habits. This will propel us to labour zealously for souls.

_Third, both Peter and Paul were great men of Faith._ They preached the message of Christ with boldness and confidence. They were on fire with regards to their faith in Christ Jesus. Holy Spirit and personal determination played a great role in achieving this. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot serve the Lord properly. 

_Fourth, discover your specific mission and ensure you carry them out sincerely._ They were chosen vessels in the household of God. Peter was set aside for the conversion of the Jews; Paul for the conversion of the Gentiles. God has specific role he wants each one of us to accomplish for him in this world. Have you discovered yours. Like Peter and Paul, are you accomplishing it? 

_Fifth, they both went through persecutions and crucifixion._ They paid the ultimate price for discipleship. They were both martyred. This explains why the liturgical colour of today is red. Can you and I, in our world of today, do the same – witness to Christ not minding the cost?

_Sixth, they loved Jesus Christ more than themselves._ They made Jesus Christ the center of their lives. St Paul would say, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”  (Philippians 1:21). 

_Finally, they both persevered till the very end._ They bore witness to Christ in good and bad weather. They were faithful through and through. This is why we are celebrating them today. 

One thing that marks out the life of Saints Peter and Paul was their unstoppable zeal for evangelization. They were ready to sacrifice everything including their own lives for the sake of God. They suffered a lot but God never abandoned them. On many occasions, they received Angelic visitations and even miraculous deliverance from the hands of their enemies as we see in today’s first reading. 

Beloved in Christ, remain firm in your faith like Saints Peter and Paul and you shall be victorious at the end!

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, like Peter and Paul, grant me grace to remain firm in faith to the end. Use me mightily to continue the great work of evangelization. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Smile, God is in charge always! (Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. Bible Quotations: Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34, 2nd Timothy 4:6-18, Matthew 16:13-19).

***Rev. Fr. Uzochukwu Ejike Obu (Prudence)

A.

– June 29, 2023 @ 06:35 GMT |

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