A Feast Of Catholicity

El Greco:Sts Peter and Paul

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. I find it interesting that these two saints have their feasts together. I often try to imagine what it would have been like to be with them both in the same room at the same time. From what we know of them, they were both very passionate and strong willed men. We also know that while they knew Christ in different ways and at different times, they both loved Him and the Gospel He preached very much.
While it might be easy to look at the more obvious similarities and differences in these two saints, the strongest thread of commonality that runs through the lives of these two men is that of unity.
After the Resurrection, Peter preached to the Jews. Paul after his conversion, became the Apostle to the Gentiles. These two disciples of Christ worked in different ways and with different groups of people toward a common goal~building the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we celebrate their feast on the same day.
Pope Benedict XVI in his 2005 homily for this feast calls it a feast of catholicity. He defines this term saying:
"Catholicity means universality - a multiplicity that becomes unity; a unity that nevertheless remains multiplicity."
In the more than 2000 years since the birth of Christianity, the Catholic Church as grown; the Gospel continues to be preached to the ends of the earth. In so doing, there is certainly diversity in the way the Catholic faith is expressed, but the teachings and tenets are the same no matter where we go in the world. The Church is universal and diverse, but it remains One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. The lives of the two great saints we celebrate today were living proof of that.Christ, the firm Foundation, built His Church upon the rock of Peter and spread it to the Gentiles through Paul.  May they intercede for each of us in our quest for holiness and for unity in the Church.

Collect
Almighty God, 
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul 
glorified you by their martyrdom: 
Grant that your Church, 
instructed by their teaching and example, 
and knit together in unity by your Spirit, 
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, 
which is Jesus Christ our Lord; 
who lives and reigns with you, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Comments

mary333 said…
I am very fond of the Vigil Mass readings for this feast day - particularly the the 1st reading from Acts of the healing of the cripple at the Beautiful Gate :)
Colleen said…
Enjoyed your post. Someone asked me the other day why they shared a feast day and I did not really have an answer. I imagine a conversation with the two of them would be quite intense! It is amazing what the apostles accomplished in those early days after Pentecost. I like the Holy Father's definition of catholicity. Hugs and God bless!
Karinann said…
Thanks ladies. We have much to be thankful for in these two great Apostles. They were both so very human-not perfect but yet God did great things through them.
Peter and Paul ... so different and so the same.

You got my imagination working ... a meeting with the two of them together over a cup of coffee or tea! But wait ... coffee or tea were not discovered then. What did they drink I wonder? Boiled fish water with a little honey perhaps.

God bless.
Karinann said…
Victor, I may have to make my coffee extra strong this morning to get the taste of boiled fish water out of my taste buds-even with the honey. Then again if anyone could handle a beverage like that it would be Peter and Paul. Thanks for stopping by and God bless!