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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt 16:13-20), Green

Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul (Mt 16:13-19), Red

The Gospel Today

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he put this question to his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But you,” he said, “who do you say I am?” Then Simon Peter spoked up, “You are the Christ,” he said, “the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh or blood that revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

“So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.”

20Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Ss Peter and Paul, Apostles

The Church founded by Christ has Ss Peter and Paul as its principal pillars. Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth, endowed with powers of the keys of the kingdom of heaven and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ’s flock (Jn 21:15-17). St Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero in AD 66 or 67.  He was buried at the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St Peter’s.

Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). He is the greatest missionary of all time. St Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the spot where the basilica bearing his name now stands, Basilica of St Paul Outside The Walls in Rome, Italy.