Today is the last day of the U.S. bishop’s annual “Religious Freedom Week”. This week is a recognition of the importance to pray, reflect, and take action on Religious Freedom. It began last Friday with the Memorial of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, two saints who devoted their lives to the good of their country, but in the end, were forced to choose between God and country and chose God.
Today is also the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. As part of Religious Freedom Week, the United States bishops chose today as the day to raise awareness about religious freedom for those who are incarcerated.
The readings tell us the stories of Peter and Paul. In the first, we hear of the martyrdom of James (the first Apostle to be martyred) as well as the arrest of Peter at the hand of Herod. Luke then tells us of the miraculous escape of Peter from his imprisonment through the Angel of the Lord. Peter, because of his faith, was spared by God. God knew that Peter’s time would come but that there was still much work to be done.
And the responsorial psalm fits right into that… “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear Him”
In the second reading, we hear St. Paul’s letter to Timothy. Paul wrote this letter from prison and in it, Paul says that he knows that he has done God’s will for him on earth. “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith”. That is all God asks of us: to keep our faith in him until the very end, no matter what we face. Paul was able to die looking forward to eternal happiness and union with God. That is our goal, that is how we should live our lives as well.
The Church was founded on Peter, the rock. A man who, at one time, denied Jesus but lived the rest of his life proclaiming the Good News that is the Resurrection of Christ. Peter and Paul died for what they knew was, and still is the Truth.
May we follow the examples of Saints Peter and Paul and not be afraid to proclaim our faith to the masses. May we fight for Religious Freedom and help those who are persecuted for their faith.
Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us!
Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO is studying for her Master’s in Spanish, and loves her job as an elementary school librarian. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.