Vatican City, Jun 29, 2021 / 07:15 am
Here is the full text of Pope Francis’ homily on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, delivered at Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter on June 29, 2021:
Two great Apostles of the Gospel and two pillars of the Church: Peter and Paul. Today we celebrate their memory. Let us take a closer look at these two witnesses of faith. At the heart of their story is not their own gifts and abilities; at the centre is the encounter with Christ that changed their lives. They experienced a love that healed them and set them free. They then became apostles and ministers of freedom for others.
Peter and Paul were free because they were set free. Let us reflect on this central point.
Peter, the fisherman from Galilee, was set free above all from his sense of inadequacy and his bitter experience of failure, thanks to the unconditional love of Jesus. Although a skilled fisher, many times, in the heart of the night, he tasted the bitterness of frustration at having caught nothing (cf. Lk 5:5; Jn 21:5) and, seeing his empty nets, was tempted to pull up his oars. Though strong and impetuous, Peter often yielded to fear (cf. Mt 14:30). Albeit a fervent disciple of the Lord, he continued to think by worldly standards, and thus failed to understand and accept the meaning of Christ’s cross (cf. Mt 16:22). Even after saying that he was ready to give his life for Jesus, the mere suspicion that he was one of Christ’s disciples led him in fright to deny the Master (cf. Mk 14:66-72).