Peter & Paul
Imperial Rome had a long history – sometimes glorious and sometimes brutal. In Mythology, Rome was founded by Romulus in 753 AD. Romulus apparently killed his twin brother Remus who criticized the boundaries his brother set for the city. Years of bloodshed would follow. The early people of Rome were from a tribe called the Latins and Rome flourished over the next 6 centuries, profiting from wars which turned Rome from a small power to a great empire until civil unrest and corruption ended their happy times.
In 49 BC Julius Caesar brought reform to the city and was confronted with a civil war of his own. Following his death a year later, Octavian became ruler and received the title “Augustus”. Augustus introduced reforms most notably the restoration of ancient morality and ancient religious festivals. This is kind of the political situation that St. Peter encountered when he went to Rome. He became its first bishop, and died there in AD 67 by being hung upside down on a cross. St. Paul was converted around the year AD 34 and spent the better part of his Christian life as a missionary and founded many communities. In AD 60 he became a prisoner in Rome where he wrote many of his letters (Ephesus, Colossae and Philippi) before being released two years later to do more missionary work. St. Paul was once again taken prisoner in Rome where he met his mortal fate in the same year as Peter. It is not clear if they died together but we do know that they were probably buried very close together.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how well the two knew each other but they were both committed to their ministry. Saints Peter and Paul were the rocks upon which Jesus built his church. They knew who Jesus was and remained faithful to the mission he gave them. On Sunday, June 29th we recognize and celebrate the faithfulness and courage of these two saints. We might not proclaim Jesus in our everyday language the way they did, but we proclaim in the rock solid way we live what Jesus taught us.