Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 29th June 2024: Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Gospel Saint Peter Isaiah 49.1-6 Martyr Saint Paul

Reading : Verses from Isaiah, Chapter 49

Saint Peter and Saint Paul

For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Today we celebrate the festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, two men who were so entirely different to one another, yet were two pillars of the Christian faith that helped to pass on the good news of Jesus Christ. Peter, a simple fisherman from Galilee was the first to see Jesus as the Messiah and Son of the living God. Jesus changed his name from Simon, to Peter, meaning 'rock' (Matthew 16.18), and he was chosen by Jesus to "feed his sheep". He was to be the foundation on which Christ's Church was to be built, and he was to lead the Church in a new direction for after a vision he was to spread the news of Jesus to the Gentiles (Acts 10.9-16).

Paul whose original name was Saul of Tarsus, was an educated Pharisee, an aristocrat, and a Roman citizen, originally set on destroying the new Church he had an experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9.1-9). that was to change his life. Like Peter this was to overturn his understanding of the strict laws concerning Jews and Gentiles. His work in due course was to take him to the Greek speaking parts of the world where he set up Churches in places like Cyprus, Corinth and Ephesus. His letters have been a lasting testament to his evangelistic fervour.

Both Peter and Paul appear to have been martyred in Rome during Emperor Nero's attacks on the Church between 64 and 67 AD, the former crucified upside down and the latter probably beheaded, they are united in our lectionary by their desire to spread the Gospel message left to them by Jesus. If Peter was the stone on which the Church was built as well as the leader of us, God's flock of sheep, then Paul was the most fervent preacher and teacher of the Gospel, his three missionary journeys taking him all around the Mediterranean. As their feast day is united, so were they united in Christ.


Collect for Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Almighty God,
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church,
inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Prayer for those to be ordained as deacons/priest or ministers of the Church this Petertide:

Oh Divine and Gracious God, we beseech Your immense power as we come together to ordain Your faithful servants. Bless them with a life full of joy and wisdom; strengthen their body and soul as they shepherd Your flock on earth. Grace them with mercy, that they may lead others in glorifying You, rejoicing in Your kingdom’s success, and finding peace amidst life’s trials. Amen.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up these:

Or this hymn written for a local catholic parish church that is dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul:

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