Once again we celebrate today the Dedication of two other major churches in Rome, the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul, the two pillars of the Church who signify our unity as one body in Jesus Christ.
Thank you, dear God our Father for this tremendous grace of being your holy people that unfortunately many among us disregard, even refuse to recognize; worst, many have turned away from the Church in the belief that they can worship you on their own.
Teach us anew the importance of having "zeal" for you and your Church, of being zealous for your house of stone here like Jesus two weeks ago who cleaned the temple and now like Mattathias and his men filled with zeal in preserving the sanctity and honor of your house of worship; twice the word “zeal” was used in today's first reading to show the men’s passion for you, dear God.
Then Mattathias went through the city shouting, “Let everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow after me!” Thereupon he fled to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind in the city all their possessions. Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there.
1 Maccabees 2:27-29
How sad, O God, when it is us your priests who lack the zeal in keeping your sanctuary holy and dignified for worship; worst, when we also lack the courage to sustain our zeal for you! Zeal for you alone is never enough, Lord, while too much zeal can sometimes distract us from you; give us focus and direction in our zeal for you.
Let us not be like Simon Peter who zealously asked Jesus to let him walk on water but upon seeing the strong winds, he was terrified and started to sink; help us learn in prayers and faith like St. Peter and St. Paul, Mattathias and his men "who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert" to cultivate and harness other virtues needed so that our zeal for you would lead us and your people closer to you in worship and in service. Amen.