Today we celebrate two great saints of the Church, St Peter (who was given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven) and St Paul (who was one of the great missionary evangelists of the Church) as Fr Peter reads from the Gospel of Matthew (16: 13-19) in which Jesus asks his disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’.
Fr Peter says this Gospel passage we’ve just heard truly depicts the feast we celebrate today, the feast of St Peter and St Paul. We hear this great dialogue between our Lord Jesus Christ and St Peter – imagine being entrusted with such great power. Being entrusted with such great power comes with a great responsibility and our Lord Jesus was prepared to entrust his church to Peter.
Today with our Pope being a successor of St Peter, he too, has been entrusted with great power and great responsibility. It is important for us to pray for our Pope, our bishops, priests, deacons and those who are leaders in our Church because we know being entrusted with such great power and great responsibility, at times, can be a great challenge. It can be a great challenge to uphold the truth, at times, when it may not be pleasing to the ear.
It is not only St Peter we honour today but also St Paul. We know what the beautiful story of St Paul, who had this marvelous experience in which his heart was changed in a way that he truly accepted the grace of God to be a great missionary and a great evangelist. When we immerse ourselves in the Letters of St Paul (as challenging as they are) we hear how he gave himself totally to God and to the Church, right up to his death.
Today, Fr Peter says, as we honour St Peter and St Paul let us pray for our leaders, especially in the Church, that they, too, may holdfast to the truth and are able to proclaim it even when it is difficult; May they be encouraged by St Paul to evangelize and renew the faith of the people; and with that great power and great responsibility may they humbly accept the challenge that is before them.