"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Ps 116:15).
With these words of Psalm 116 allow me to begin today's meditation, which I wish to dedicate to the memory of the Holy Founders and Patrons of the Roman Church. In fact the solemn day of 29 June is approaching, in which the whole Church, but especially Rome, will remember the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. This day has been consolidated in the memory of the Roman Church as the day of their death. The day that united them with the Lord, whose Coming they awaited, whose Law they observed, and from whom they received "the crown of life" (cf. 2 Tim 4:7-8; Gal 1:12).
The day of death was for them the beginning of the New Life. The Lord himself revealed this beginning to them with his own resurrection, to which they became witnesses by means of their words and their works, and also by means of their death. Everything together: the words, the works, and the death of Simon of Bethsaida, whom the Lord called Peter, and of Saul of Tarsus, who after his conversion was called Paul, is, as it were, the complement of Christ's Gospel, its penetration into the history of mankind, into the history of the world, and also into the history of this City. And really there is matter for meditation in these days, which the Lord, by means of the death of his Apostles, permits us to fill with a special memory of their lives.
"Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines / apostolorum praepollet alacriter, / Petri beati, Pauli sacratissimi, Quos Christus almo consecravit sanguine, / ecclesiarum deputavit principes" (Hymnus ad officium lectionis).
"There shines forth in all places of the world / the happy solemnity of the Apostles, / of blessed Peter and holy Paul, / whom Christ consecrated with fruitful blood / and assigned as heads of the churches" (Hymn at the Office of Readings).
-Blessed John Paul II, General Audience June 27, 1979
As we celebrate the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, let us pray for the courage to live the Gospel and present its message to the world.
SS. Peter and Paul, pray for us and our Church!