This ancient Solemnity of the second century commemorates the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul, the founders of the diocese of Rome. This is a day of grand celebration in Rome complete with fireworks. http://www.nola.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/06/romans_celebrate_the_feast_of.html
May we ponder the words of Saint Augustine whose homily for this Solemnity unfolds for us why thus should be a day of grand celebration.
“Both apostles share the same feast day – for these two were one and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostle’s blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their suffering, their preaching and their confession of faith.”
On this day when we confess the apostolicity of the faith, we also join our prayers to those Christians who today confess their faith in the face of the threat of death. Our thought turn to Meriam Ibrahim. In an insightful article by Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds , a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame, he states:
‘We all can learn from the example of Meriam Ibrahim. After her conviction in May, Meriam was given three days to embrace Islam and save her life. This would have been an easy choice to make, but Meriam refused, declaring: “I am a Christian and I will remain a Christian.” Those who wonder whether heroic—and saintly—courage still exists can look to her.’
On this Sunday we confess our faith in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church and pledge our prayer and support for those whose lives are threatened and those who are tortured and martyred for that confession.
O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul
give us the noble and holy joy of this day,
grant, we pray, that your Church
may in all things follow the teaching
of those through whom she received
the beginnings of right religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.