Father Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, gave a 14-minute homily on Sunday, June 30, the external solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

When you drive down from the Apennine mountains, you see St. Peter’s, dominating Rome.

The first Christian emperor, Constantine, build the first St. Peter’s. Then in the Renaissance Michaelangelo and Bernini designed the new St. Peter’s.

The foundation of that mighty basilica, rests on one question. From Christ to Peter, “Lovest thou me, Peter?
Paul died later that year, after Peter. But the question remains the same for everyone.

Priests are all asked that same question. People love their priests. Priests are tempted to love other things more than Christ. The things of the Church can be a distraction for priests. It was my celebration of ordination on the feast. I was ordained on this feast, as was Cardinal Burke and Benedict XVI. Thanks for the gifts you gave me, but please remember we are tempted by lavish gifts.

Peter did not stand with Mary and John at the foot of the cross. It shows all priests the need of penetance.
Jesus asks Peter, do you love me (agape). Peter answers he likes him (philia).
But he asks him, make my heart unto thine.

The archbishop of San Francisco gave Fulton Sheen’s book on priests to the priests of San Francisco.
Archbishop Sheen wrote that all that we do is inconsequential except for dying on the cross with Him.

In the end Peter allowed himself to be crucified.
The Mass trains us priests in sacrifice. You are learning how to be a victim, to stand at the foot of the cross.

Joseph Ratzinger died 18 months ago. He was ordained in 1951. His last words were “Jesus I love you.” He said as he was dying what Peter needed to say. “Lovest thou, Peter, more than these?”

See full 14 minute homily here…