Today we celebrate the solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, who were basic for the early Church and, therefore, for our Christian faith. Apostles of the Lord, witnesses of the first hour, they lived those initial moments of expansion of the Church and sealed with their blood their loyalty to Jesus. Let us hope that we, Christians of the 21st century, also know how to be reliable witnesses of the love of God in the midst of men, as these two Apostles were, along with so many others of our fellow citizens.
In one of his first interventions addressing the Cardinals, Pope Francis told them that we must 'walk, build and confess'. That is, we must move forward in our way of life, by building up our Church and by confessing the Lord. But the Pope warned: "we can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a compassionate NGO but not the Church, the Bride of Christ»
We have heard in the Mass Gospel a central fact for the life of Peter and the Church. Jesus asks that fisherman of Galilee an act of faith in his divine status and Pedro does not hesitate to say: "You are the Christ, the son of the living God" (Mt 16:16). Immediately, Jesus institutes the Primacy, by telling Peter that he will be the firm rock upon which the Church, throughout the ages, will be built (cf. Mt 16:18) and by giving him also the power of the keys of the Kingdom, the Supreme authority.
Although Peter and his successors are assisted by the force of the Holy Spirit, they still need our prayers, because their mission is of great significance for the life of the Church: they must be a strong foundation for all Christians throughout the ages; we must, therefore, also pray, every day, for the Holy Father, for his person and for his intentions.