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Tuesday, June 29, 1999

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Sts. Peter & Paul

Acts 12:1-11
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
Psalm 34
Matthew 16:13-19

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the church frees

"With that, the chains dropped from Peter's wrists." —Acts 12:7

As we near the threshold of the year 2000, the Great Jubilee, we need to realize more than ever that Jesus is the only One Who sets us free (Jn 8:36). He frees us by His truth (Jn 8:32). Because the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tm 3:15), and has been given the keys of God's kingdom (Mt 16:19), she is used by Jesus to free us. For example, Peter, the leader of the early Church, was on death row and about to be beheaded, as James had been (Acts 12:1ff). "The church prayed fervently to God on his behalf" (Acts 12:5). Then Jesus freed Peter through the prayers of the Church.

Peter was guarded by four groups of four soldiers (Acts 12:4), "fastened with double chains" (Acts 12:6), and locked behind an "iron gate" (Acts 12:10). Peter needed to overcome nineteen obstacles to his freedom — sixteen guards, two chains, and one iron gate. We, like Peter, need a series of multiple miracles to be set free. However, the Church is praying for that. Because of the Church's prayers, angels are being sent to wake us up (Acts 12:7), clothe us with God's armor (Acts 12:8; see also Eph 6:14ff), and accompany us as we follow Jesus as His disciples (see Acts 12:8).

Answer the Church's prayer. Through the intercession of Sts. Peter and Paul, be free and lead the world to new freedom in the Jubilee Year.

Prayer:  Father, set the captives free.

Promise:  "The Lord will continue to rescue me from all attempts to do me harm and will bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom." —2 Tm 4:18

Praise:  "The Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter's message" (Acts 10:44).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 28, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 1998