Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Homily for the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul

This morning we commemorate the dedication of two of the major basilicas built by Constantine in the fourth century: Saint Peter’s on the Vatican hill and Saint Paul outside the walls.

Although our Feast bears the name of the saints commemorated on the 29th of June, today’s feast is not so much about their memory, as it is dedicated to the Churches built on the site where Paul’s head hit the ground when he died by the sword and where Peter’s body was laid to rest when they took him down from the cross.

It’s about the building of a Church.

A Church built on Roman soil, sanctified by the blood of the Apostle to the Gentiles, who never stopped preaching, even when they martyred him and buried his body in a grave made holy by his sacrifice,

A Church built on the bold and fragile faith of the Prince of the Apostles, who though drowning in the turbulence of his disbelief, still cries out with his final breath: “Lord, save me!”

A Church once dedicated which has perdured, handing down the truth which comes to us from these Apostles and which endures undefiled in our hearts today.