Thursday, June 29, 2006

Finding unity in our diversity

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Today is the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul, and so it is on this occasion that we commemorate the dual apostolic foundation of the Roman See. Though they sometimes butted heads, and even though Paul once had to openly rebuke Peter, they stood side-by-side in their final witness for truth.

Rome was regarded as the pre-eminent apostolic see not just because it was the final resting place of Peter--the leader of the Twelve. But also because it was the final resting place of Paul, the great evangelist with a convert's heart, who turned from a life of persecution when he encountered the risen Christ and became persecuted himself for Christ's sake.

Their common martyrdom would found the capital of the City of God. It would mark the New Jerusalem (see Revelation 11). But unlike the legend of Romulus and Remus, they would not spill each other's blood, but work together in the service of the gospel as a planter of churches and as a pastor of souls.

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that thy Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by thy Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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