Today is one of those extra-special feast days that really bring home what a joy and a privilege and a blessing it is to be Catholic, not least because it is a holy day of obligation and all the faithful come to Mass to worship the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and share in the fruits of his sacrifice. But the thing that seems to always strike me most of all each year is the sheet wonder that is the Body of Christ, the Church.
The antiphon for the Mass today is; "These are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the church with their blood; they drank the chalice of the Lord and became the friends of God." and it is that statement, that through their sharing in that suffering of Christ and relinquishing their own lives for the sake of the Gospel they have strengthened and formed the Church in ways we can never hope to. Their deaths didn't just send out a message that Jesus was worth dying for and, despite the obvious loss of two marvellous teachers and apostles for the early Christian community, the people weren't left alone. Peter and Paul testified to the awe-some power of Christ's death and resurrection in giving up themselves for his sake and enduring gruesome fates so that the faith of the community might grow and bear even greater fruit.
This feast I love because we celebrate the lives of two holy men who were totally dedicated to the work of God. I love it because we see in Peter and Paul examples of our own human frailty and what God can do to transform that if we simply say, "yes." I love it because their deaths still give us hope and strength when our faith is weak and the temptations and noise of the world seem all too much. I love it 'cause we all have to go to Mass!
Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us.