29 June, Monday — Rescue

Jun 29 – Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles

Peter (c.1–64) was a professional fisherman. He was the brother of St. Andrew the Apostle, the man who led him to Christ. Given the name Simon, he was renamed “Peter” (rock) by Jesus to indicate that Peter would be the rock-like foundation on which the Church would be built. He later became a bishop and was the first pope. He was also a miracle worker.

Paul (c.3–c.65) was a Jewish Talmudic student and a Pharisee. He was a tent-maker by trade. Saul the Jew hated and persecuted the Christians as heretical, even assisting at the stoning of St. Stephen the Martyr. On his way to Damascus, Syria, to arrest another group of faithful, he was knocked to the ground, struck blind by a heavenly light, and given the message that in persecuting him, causing his conversion to Christianity.

He was baptized, changed his name to Paul to reflect his new persona, and began travelling, preaching, and teaching. His letters to the churches he help found form a large percentage of the New Testament. He knew and worked with many of the earliest saints and Fathers of the Church. He died a martyr for the faith.

– Patron Saint Index

Acts 12:1-11
2 Tim 4:6-8,17-18
Mt 16:13-19

“I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.”

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. We remember how the apostles were persecuted and paid a heavy price for their faith and their works. There is a sense of rescue in the readings today.

In such challenging times, and the times where we have committed grave mistakes, or when it seems like there is no way out, we wish to be rescued. In the face of death, we wish to be rescued.

Have we thought about who ought to rescue us? Do we deserve to be rescued?

In the first reading, we read of James and Peter, and I’m sure it applies to the other apostles as well. When they were living out the faith and evangelising others, it wasn’t because they knew they would be rescued should anything happen to them. They embarked on their mission because they weren’t afraid of death, their lives were a symbol of their faith. ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They knew who Jesus was.

For most of us, it has been a couple of months since we were able to receive Jesus in the eucharist. I have heard and read about how many feel deprived and uneasy, possibly more sinful and unloved, not being able to receive the eucharist. Suddenly, there seems to be a greater importance. In the Gospel today, when asked the question ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ Simon Peter was able to answer because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.

While it is indeed important to receive Jesus into our hearts through the eucharist and eat His flesh and blood, it doesn’t mean that if we don’t, we will not be rescued. For the love of Jesus isn’t just limited to the eucharist or the going to church, but it is whether we can say, “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.”

When we have let our actions do the talking and the conviction in our faith, we wouldn’t just be waiting to be rescued; we will be making the rescue with Christ as the leader, rescuing others from the clutches of the evil one, to set prisoners free, free from the slavery of sin and death, into eternal life.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for all who are in distress, facing anxiety, who are lost, who are discouraged, that they will allow themselves to be rescued by You. We pray that you will touch their lives, heal their wounds and fill them with your peace and love. Dear Lord, I pray that all of us will learn to bring hope, to allow ourselves to be rescuers. Dear Lord, especially during this difficult time, we pray that Your kingdom come, Your will be done. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver from evil. Amen.

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