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Gospel for Tuesday, June 29: Matthew 16: 13-19

FESTIVAL OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL

13Jesus, having arrived in the region of Caesarea Philippi, asked his disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”. 14They replied: “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or some of the prophets.” 15He said to them: “But who do you say that I am?”. 16Simon Peter replied: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I say to you: you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of hell will not prevail over it. 19To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Mt 16: 13-19

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

SAINTS PETER AND PAUL

Celebrating the feasts of the Saints is actually celebrating our God: in fact he, in the Bible, is always the God “of someone”: “IHWH, the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob… This is my name forever!” (Ex 3:15). And today we celebrate two giants of faith in the Lord: Peter and Paul.

Peter, fisherman from Bethsaida (Jn 1.44), but married in Capernaum (Mk 1.21), disciple of the Baptist (Jn 21.15), meets Jesus through his brother Andrew (Jn 1.40-42). After a miraculous catch, Jesus calls him to become a “fisher of men” (Lk 5:1-11). The humble fisherman will be the head of the boat that is the Church (Jn 21): therefore Jesus changes his name from Simon to “Rock” (Mt 16,17-19; Jn 21,15-17). And he is proclaimed “blessed” for having confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16,16): but he becomes “Rock” through a path of conversion.

In fact, the Gospels present him to us as impulsive, impetuous, violent (Jn 18.18), incapable of understanding the scandal of a Messiah “who had to suffer greatly…, and be killed”. Therefore he, the first Pope, is called “Satan”, because he does not think “according to God, but according to men” (Mt 16, 21-23). And he betrays the Master three times, in the hour of the Passion (Mt 26.69-75): but “then the Lord turned and looked at him. And Peter… went out and wept bitterly” (Lk 22,61-62). He is still in disbelief before the empty tomb (Jn 20, 5-10): only after another miraculous catch of fish and the triple painful confession of a love stronger than that of the other disciples does he become the Shepherd of the nascent Church (Jn 21) , pillar of the first community (Gal 2.9; Acts 1.5; 17.7…), who will testify with his life to his love for the Lord (John 21.18-19; Acts 5; 12), putting himself he also follows in the footsteps of the Lamb (1 Pt 2,21).

A poor sinner, but capable of tears of repentance and above all of passionate love, which by grace becomes the foundation of the Church (Mt 16.18).

Paul was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. Proud of being a Jew (Rom 11.1), disciple of the great Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22.3), but also a Roman citizen (Acts 22.25-28), Zealot Pharisee (Gal 1.14), fierce persecutor of his heretical followers of the Nazarene (Acts 8,1-3; 9,1-2), personally meets the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9,3-5): he converts, and is called to be the “chosen instrument to carry my name before the peoples, the kings and the children of Israel”, the one who “will have to suffer greatly for my name” (Acts 9,15-16). A humble “tent maker” (Acts 18.3), he is a man of suffering, tried by weakness and a mysterious illness (Gal 4.14; 2 Cor 12.7-9), marked by sin (Rom 7.18- 25). But above all his limits he too experiences the Love of Christ (Rm 8,31-37), of which he becomes a passionate singer (Eph 3,17-19): he therefore becomes the sublime theologian and the missionary of the people, tireless founder of Churches (Acts 13-21). Paul’s conversion in fact coincides with his vocation to the apostolate. It is not possible to encounter the living Christ without feeling the poignant passion of shouting this discovery to all men: “It is no boast for me to preach the gospel; it’s a duty for me: woe to me if I don’t preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9.16). Paul’s apostolic activity is miraculous: he covered 7,800 km on foot and another 9,000 at sea. The entire then known world was the scene of his preaching. He not only founded new Christian communities, but continually assisted them, governed them even from afar and consolidated them. And this increased his already great fatigue (2 Cor 11,16-29). “Prisoner of the Lord” (Eph 4.1), he endures all sorts of persecutions and violence for him (2 Cor 11.23-28), to the point of suffering martyrdom in Rome.

“For us Christians, Paul is undoubtedly the most admirable example of that high and pure flame that Christ Jesus knows how to light in the souls that love him; for those who do not share his faith, he remains a genius, a hero, the witness of causes that are worth more than life, a man who honors man” (H. Daniel-Rops).

Peter and Paul: two men like us, but transformed by the encounter with the Lord, and conquered by his Love, of which they become tireless announcers, with their entire lives. “Yes, my God is the God of Abraham our father in faith, … of Peter the Rock of the church, … of Paul the free prisoner of Christ… From them through the holy Church I received and knew him , I learned to love him and he became my God” (E. Bianchi)!

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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