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_*“I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)*_

Today, we remember St. Peter and St. Paul, the greatest names in the church’s early history. In our Gospel passage today, we see that Peter was the one to whom Jesus entrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven as the visible head of the Church. Meanwhile, Paul was the one Jesus arrested on the way to Damascus, making him a great apostle to the Gentile world.

– While Peter represents tradition, authority, and unity, Paul represents grace, mercy, and humanity. St. Paul says today, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” These words underlie the nature of the Christian life, which is both a fight and a race.

– The Christian life is a fight against the flesh and its craving for sin, against the forces of darkness, against worldliness, and against whatever makes us reject Christ. To win this fight against principalities and powers. St. Paul recommends that we put on the whole armour of God, which includes truth, righteousness as a breastplate, the gospel of peace, faith as a shield, salvation as a helmet, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:12-17).

– The Christian life is also a race that requires constant training, dedication, and commitment. As St. Paul says, “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we, an imperishable wreath. Well, I do not run aimlessly or box as one beating the air, but I pommel my body and subdue it lest I be disqualified after preaching to others.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

– Today, we celebrate the ultimate victory of the Apostles for their efforts to keep the faith despite their struggles. Herod arrested Peter, intending to bring him to trial to make fun of him publicly, but the Angel of God set him free that night. Even if he would eventually die for the sake of the Gospel, this incident proves that when we suffer for the sake of righteousness, we are never alone.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, as we celebrate the two great men who fought gallantly to lay the foundation of your church on earth, help us to follow in their footsteps and win the race before us. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Bible Study: Acts 12:1-11, Ps. 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18, Matthew 16:13-19).*

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu


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