Sunday, 1 July 2007

Peter'n'Paul pt II PETER or CEPHAS

Fifty days after Passover the eleven apostles are in the upper room with Mary, the Mother of the Lord. It is the feast of Pentecost, First Fruits and the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles and on His Bride filling them with the fire of Grace.

Peter then takes his fellow apostles out to preach the Good News to the pilgrims gathered from all over the Decopalis and beyond for the feast. The first fruits of the Church Christ has founded on His rock Peter are 3000 converts baptised that very day.

Peter goes on to Antioch and establishes a church there. He returns to Jerusalem after the conversion of Paul to lead the first Church council there in which the question of the circumcision and Mitzvah observance of Gentiles is considered. Once the arguments have been given, Peter makes his decision and as Christ promised it is binding.
Peter returned to Antioch where he hands over the bishopric to Evodius who may have been the first gentile bishop-but I am not sure of that.

From there Peter went on to Rome. He established himself there before the fire. Nero was Emperor and was a despotic one who made a mess of his role. On July 18th 64AD a fire took down a third of the city of Rome, a fire that was somewhat convenient to Nero’s building plans. The convenience of the fire and Nero’s obsession with the great fire of Troy was noted by the devastated Romans and so Nero decided he needed someone to blame and the Christian’s would do nicely.
Peter was martyred during that massive persecution. Tradition tells us Peter’s wife was martyred first. He was arrested soon after and crucified. He asked to be crucified upside down as he felt he was unworthy to die the way Christ had died.
There is a story from the apocryphal book of the Acts of Peter that he tried to leave Rome to escape the persecutions. On the way out of the city he met Jesus carrying the cross and asked the famous question “Quo vadis Domine?” (Where are you going Lord?) Jesus replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Chastened, Peter returned to his place and received martyrdom.

Rome was built on seven hills, but across the river Tiber was another hill, Vatican Hill and there Nero had built a circus. It was there Peter was martyred and buried.
Years later his tomb was discovered, just where it was expected to be.

1 comment:

Joyful Catholics said...

I just returned a few weeks ago from pilgrimage in Rome with Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina. This painting of our beloved first Pope being crucified upside down just 'gets me' in the gut/heart. Thank you for your blog. Stop by and visit us sometime. I have a dear friend in Wales who I'll send your way to visit you on line and who knows, maybe sometime you could meet her in person. She's lovely, and in a very hard place emotionally right now, but as she told me yesterday, "Susie, our lives are rosaries, and I'm coming out of the sorrowful mysteries and entering the joyful, and I know the others will follow, for we're living rosaries." Isn't that a beautiful thought?