The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church
This piece on Sts. Peter and Paul is an excerpt from a sermon (Sermo 295, 1-2, 4, 7-8; PL 38, 1348-1352) by St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, who died in the year 430AD. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29 and shows that as early as the fourth century, Christians celebrated this day in honor of these two apostles and martyrs who laid down their lives for Christ in the Eternal City.
This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. "Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19). These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.
The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, "And I say to you, that you are Peter" (Matthew 16:13-20). He himself, you see, had just said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Christ said to him, "And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.
Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, "To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, "To you I am entrusting," what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained" (John 20:22-23).
Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed (Jn. 21: 15-19). It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.
There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labors, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.
To read Dr. Italy's article on Sts. Peter and Paul, Click here!
For even more from St. Leo the Great, Click here!
Follow Us -
Join us on Facebook
Join us on Twitter
Be a part of the “new springtime” of evangelization! Your tax-deductible gift helps us use TV, radio, and the web to proclaim the message without compromise but in language even the young can understand. Click here to donate now.
To download and print this article by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, CLICK HERE.
Come read the wonderful homily by Pope Benedict XVI on Sts. Peter and Paul!
Be sure to read Saint Leo the Great's article on Sts. Peter and Paul!
For more information on these Early Church Fathers come to read St. Cyprian's writings about Sts. Peter and Paul!
Be sure to check out Dr. D’Ambrosio’s article on Sts. Peter and Paul
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
Peter, the Pope and Infallibility –
There are so many questions that our Protestant brother and sisters ask about the Papacy – this CD/AT by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio will shed light on the history of the Papacy and will help you answer many of the common questions that they raise!
The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter
In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers. Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day. In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us.
The Blessing of Brotherhood - CDPs 133: “How Good and Pleasant it is!”
In a society preoccupied with romantic love and sisterhood, Christian brotherhood is making a comeback! When Catholic men organize into a “band of brothers,” there is support, accountability, and fruitfulness in Christ that is impossible when men live as “islands” unto themselves. The burdens grow lighter and the light grows brighter when men gather together as one. This talk will include stories about what men gathered together have accomplished in the history of the church plus practical tips for men organizing themselves into small groups for prayer, study, and support.
CD - Christianity Divided
Roman Catholic . . . Eastern Orthodox . . . Protestant. How did these splits occur within Christianity and what can be done to overcome them?
In this series, historical theologian Marcellino D’Ambrosio tells the story of the people, ideas, and events that led to the divisions that we live with everyday. It is not a simple story of good guys and bad guys, but a complex story of misunderstanding, passion for God, and human foibles with plenty of fault on all sides.
BioLean ProXtreme Protein Drink
ProXtreme! This delicious chocolate formulation brings together six different high-quality protein sources — including whey protein and Glutamine Peptide — to deliver 25 grams of protein to support your immune system and your body’s lean muscle tissue to ensure that your metabolism stays primed for effective weight loss! And, Pro-Xtreme contains only two grams of carbohydrates per serving, so you know it’s healthy for today’s low-carb lifestyle.