Saints Peter and Paul are pillars of the Church and a reminder that God is with us always, Pope Francis said Thursday in St. Peter’s Square.
“The Fathers of the Church liked to compare the holy apostles Peter and Paul to two columns, on which the visible building of the Church rests. Both sealed with their own blood their testimony to Christ of preaching and service to the nascent Christian community," he stated during his June 29 Angelus address on the saints’ feast.
He reflected on St. Peter’s deliverance from prison by an angel “so that he could complete his evangelizing mission, first in the Holy Land and then in Rome, putting all his energy at the service of the Christian community."
St. Paul similarly experienced hostility to his mission, the Pope said, from both civil authorities and his fellow Jews, “from which he was freed by the Lord."
“These two ‘deliverances’, of Peter and of Paul, reveal the common path of the two apostles, who were mandated by Jesus to announced the Gospel in difficult and in certain cases hostile circumstances."
They both, through “their personal and ecclesial stories, demonstrate and say to us, today, that the Lord is always at our side, walking with us, never abandoning us," said Pope Francis.
“Especially at the moment of trial, God touches our hand, comes to our aid, and frees us from the threats of our nemeses. But let us recall that our true nemesis is sin, and the Evil One who drives us to it."
He said that “when we reconcile with God, especially in the sacrament of Penance, we receive the grace of pardon, we are freed from the chains of evil, and are lightened from the burden of our errors. Thus can we continue our journey of as joyous announcers and witnesses to the Gospel, demonstrating that we ourselves first received mercy."
Pope Francis concluded his address by praying for Rome, the city of the martyrdom of both Saints Peter and Paul.
“May the goodness and the grace of the Lord sustain all the Roman people, for they live in fraternity and concord, resplendent in the Christian faith, witnessed to with intrepid love by the holy apostles Peter and Paul."