..feast of St Peter & St Paul.. ..two of greatest saints in the Church..special people so we come specially to Mass on this their feastday, to give thanks for their example they left of how to gradually become good people & reliable trustworthy followers of Jesus.. ..some symbols of each of them to share with you.. a rock because Peter was specially chosen to help Jesus build the Church..his name in Gk Cephas means “rock” ..rock solid dependable.. a map because Paul was asked by God to travel to remote countries & tell people all about Jesus & of his loving welcome of all people..& help bring them to belief in God..
..& for me what makes these two great followers of Jesus really special is that they like you & I got it wrong, badly wrong at times, hurt others & thereby hurt Jesus, by what they did or didn’t do..what they said or didn’t say..who they blamed & who they bullied.. Peter the rock on night Jesus was to be arrested met a servant girl who recognised him as a follower of Jesus..”you too were with Jesus” she said & Peter said “I do not know what you are talking about” three times she asked three times he denied Jesus..& then what did he hear? cock crowing..when I come up to our School from Church I often hear cock crowing opposite Surgery & I think of times I deny I know Jesus..
..& Paul for all he was a great missioner explaining convincing people about the life & love of God what did he do before he became a follower of Jesus?..he was a professional bully we might call a terrorist ..someone who disliked goodness & good people & went out of their way to make life difficult hurtful for them..some of us know what it’s like to be bullied..us grown-ups as well as you youngsters..
So both Peter & Paul made big mistakes but what made them fine examples for us is that they were eventually honest truthful enough to own up to their bad behaviour, say sorry from heart, & receive one of greatest gifts imaginable..to be forgiven & to be loved even more because we got it wrong..
..let us now pause for a moment to think of times we have been unkind unhelpful at School at home in the Village & in this our parish family..& ask for Our Lords forgiveness..
..for getting into trouble then trying to deny it or blame someone else.. ; Lord have mercy ..for the damage I do to others through nasty words or hurtful behaviour.. ; Christ have mercy ..for being slow to come clean to admit my faults & ask for forgiveness.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..at start of Mass I shared with you a symbol for Peter & a symbol for Paul..I want to add another symbol now for each of them.. ..for Peter a key..why a key?..caretaker the keyholder one who looks after you, keeps your home safe & you safe..the best keys open what is locked..the worst keys lock up something or someone & prevent us getting to know & love them.. ..for Paul a pair of sandals..why sandals? ..because we grow as followers of Jesus by following his example..he walked everywhere partly because he was too poor to ride on a donkey or a camel, but importantly because he knew if you were going to get to know someone well, you had to walk alongside them & listen to them telling/sharing their story..you know how good it is to go home after a bad day in School & for Mum to notice you are not your real self & she says “tell me about it” & half an hour later you feel so much better..she has put her sandals on & walked alongside you for those precious moments.. so how wonderful it could be if, when you noticed your Mum or Dad wasn’t their real self, you put on your sandals as it were, & you said “Mum tell me about your day”..or to Dad “how has your day been?” & really listen to their story.. I know two youngsters, a brother & sister a little bit older than you, who lost their Dad some time ago & Mum, now on her own, keeps the keys of their home, looking after her children keeping them safe, & she loves & looks after them so well..she has had to become a different sort of a Peter, now the only rock of dependability love & comfort for her children..& who do you think is now the Paul in their family? the 10yr old boy..he goes off to bed as usual at 930pm, having kissed his sister & his Mum goodnight..he misses his Dad a lot so he doesn’t sleep very well, & around 11pm he will go quietly into his Mums bedroom to ask how she is..they will have precious time together, sharing the day & a few tears, then he gives his Mum a big hug & goes off to his own room to fall fast asleep..& she is so proud of him, as he tries to follow in his Dad’s sandals & be as good & as loving as he was..
Jesus says to each of us this morning.. will you be my rock my Peter?..a little bundle of dependability..to do what you are asked/trusted to do & do it well, like Peter..& also will you be my Paul?..watching out for anyone in your family or in your class who might look to be struggling, & gently ask them “are you all right?” so that anyone in need knows they can come to you & rely on you to listen & to show to them the love of Jesus..
..& finally a question for you..who is currently contender for Golden Boot award at the Euro’s?..the one who will score the most goals in the tournament.. ..well a bit like Peter & Paul he plays in a team, but the leading goalscorer, if he is to score goals, relies on who to help him?..others..they too are thanked & awarded a special medal for their “assists”; who has had most assists for England so far?..go find out please & tell me tomorrow after tonight’s match.. ..I want to ask each of you please, to be champions at assists in School & at home, helping your teachers parents brothers sisters to make all they do for us go even better..for us & for them..you can tell me next week in class what assists you have achieved over the rest of this week..please..