Lectionary Reflections: Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul [a] June 29, 2014

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jun 23, 2014

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles [a]

June 29, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


Acts 12:1-11

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18

Matthew 16:13-19



June 28: Anticipated start of Ramadan, the Muslim Holy Month

July 1: Canada Day

July 4: Independence Day in the United States



The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. 

Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 2

Subsidiarity disperses authority to the maximum feasible local focus by involving people not in perfunctory consultation - "What do you think of this document we expert outsiders have prepared?" - but in genuine participation - "What shall we do together to come up with a consensual document?" As we all know, in policy preparation there is a world of difference between consultation and participation!

Peter Henriot, S.J., Catholic social teaching and Poverty Eradication: Key Concepts and Issues

Government should not replace or destroy smaller communities and individual initiative. Rather it should help them contribute more effectively to social well-being and supplement their activity when the demands of justice exceed their capacities. This does not mean, however, that the government that governs least governs best. Rather it defines good government intervention as that which truly "helps" other social groups contribute to the common good by directing, urging, restraining, and regulating economic activity as "the occasion requires and necessity demands.”

USCCB, Economic Justice for All, 124

It is agreed that in our time the common good is chiefly guaranteed when personal rights and duties are maintained. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are acknowledged, respected, coordinated with other rights, defended and promoted, so that in this way each one may more easily carry out his duties. For "to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the fulfillment of his duties, should be the chief duty of every public authority."

John XXIII, Peace on Earth, 60

Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks.  Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church!

Pope Francis, Solemnity of Peter and Paul, 29 June, 2013

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! Even atheists... And this blood makes us children of God of the first class! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think is a beautiful path towards peace.

Pope Francis, 22 May 2013


Thoughts for Your Consideration

On this feast of Peter and Paul, we remember that we have been delegated to share the vision and loving practice of Jesus Christ.  On the Feast of Peter and Paul, we celebrate two men who gave their lives to share the vision, liberation, peace, justice and joy of Jesus Christ.  

The message of Jesus is something worth sharing.  Peter and Paul were about sharing what they received from Jesus.  The church today is also about the sharing of that vision.  The church today is about Jesus’ vision of being brothers and sisters with and for each other, of being servants of one another, of creating a world of profound justice and peace for all the people.  God wants us to make it real today.

In today’s gospel story Jesus shares “authority” with Peter.  In some way this is an example of the delegation of responsibility.   It might remind us of the principle of subsidiarity, one of the key themes in Catholic Social Teaching. [A higher level of government -- or organization -- should not perform any function or duty that can be handled more effectively at a lower level by people who are closer to the problem and have a better understanding of the issue.]  Jesus delegates authority to Peter and to the whole church.  Jesus trusts us human beings to put into practice the good news.  No one person knows everything.  No one person is called to do everything.  God does not dictate solutions “from above.”  We are called to work collaboratively and consult together as we deal with the issues of our day, as we discern and work together for justice and peace.  God cannot create a work of justice and reconciliation unless we get involved.

The first two readings affirm the power that comes from God and was manifested in the lives of Peter and Paul.  The angel comes to Peter in jail. With this help, even chains cannot hold Peter back. After countless challenges Paul writes: “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed.”  We share in the same spirit that animated the ministry of Peter and Paul.

Catholic Social Teaching has been articulated by the successors of Peter and Paul. All of us are commissioned to discern what it means and to put it into practice.


Questions for Reflection in Your Faith Sharing Group

  • When in your life have you felt the call of God to get active in social issues?  
  • How did you feel the power of God helping you?


  • Jesus asks: “Who do you say that I am?”
  • How do you answer this question for the people of today?
  • What do you say?  What do you do?



You can find the African story of “The Blind Man and the Hunter” at:

Perhaps this story can instill in us the same inspiration that Peter and Paul gained from the life and teachings of Jesus.


Actions – Links


“Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.” 

It is available at:



In many places in the United States, this week is celebrated as Gay & Lesbian Pride Week. In some cities, this Sunday is sometimes celebrated with Gay Pride parades and other events. To place these events in the context of Catholic Social Teaching  - especially teaching about the dignity of all men and women, you might check out the 1997 statement of a US Bishops committee: “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers.” 

It is available at: 



Join Network and Nuns on the Bus to speak up by phone or e-mail about immigration reform. 



For a report from the 2012 Muslim-Catholic National Plenary go to:

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has put together a document that might be helpful for non-Muslims especially Christians to understand Islam. They write: 

“Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and their relationship with Allah and with people around them. It is special time to worship Allah and it is also a time to remember needy people and share what Allah gave us with them. So Ramadan is a month for sharing and caring.”

To read the full text, go to:


“Crazy Facts”

  • The death toll in Syria's three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, […] The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have rippled across the region. 

  • The public record of violent deaths following the 2003 invasion of Iraq:

o Documented civilian deaths from violence: at least 126,086

o Total violent deaths including combatants:  at least 191,000

  • Another survey indicates that maybe a half million were killed in Iraq during the war


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Help us to share the good news of Jesus.

For all those who feel left out and oppressed, we pray….

For all our children, especially those without the opportunity to learn, we pray….

For all immigrants and refugees who have come to our nation, we pray….

For all who are left out because of their gender, or sexual orientation, or skin color, we pray….

For all who struggle because fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, or anyplace in the world, we pray….

For our Muslim sisters and brothers as they begin their holy month of Ramadan, we pray….


Prayer - Meditation

Let us pray for peace with a greater justness in ours and every land: 

God of justness and mercy, 

We pray for an end to terrorism in any form. 

We pray for wisdom that will bring greater peace in our world. 

We pray for understanding and compassion that will safeguard the innocent and feed and find home for all refugees and all who suffer. 

We pray for companionship and strength for all who mourn.

We pray in Jesus' love. Amen. 

The Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles, October 7, 2001


The following prayer, authored by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy, was used in many places for inter-religious worships around the time of the Gulf War in 1991:

Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.

Great and wonderful are Your works, wondrous are your ways.

Thank You for the many splendored variety of Your creation.

Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and purpose,

and the freedom to do so.

Forgive our violation of Your creation.

Forgive our violence toward each other.

We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent love

for each and all of Your children:

Christian, Jew, Muslim,

as well as those with other faiths.

Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong;

mutual respect in words and deed,

restraint in the exercise of power, and

the will for peace with justice, for all.

Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You. 


(Excerpted from Current Dialogue 24/93, p.36)