We know that St Peter was martyred in Rome about 67 A.D. by the Roman emperor Nero. Some reports say his body was buried in the Necropolis, which was later torn down by Constantine, who leveled the area to build the Vatican. We know the original St. Peter’s Basilica and the current one are built over the bones of St Peter. Peter was the man who wrote: But we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (1:17).
Do you ever consider what it must have been like to witness great historical events? To those who took part were they merely “just occurrences” that only later drew much attention and acclaim? The day Constantine converted to Christianity around 330 A.D. The Renaissance of the 12th Century, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863 or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969. What makes something the most notable event of all time? Peter said these words: We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain (1:18).
It is quite clear the divine presence that Peter shares with us about what he experienced. His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own power (1:3). Peter expresses his hopes that this will affect us. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the
Divine nature (1:3). And, Peter challenges us to respond and to act. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love (1:5-7). Finally, Peter warns us. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out (3:10).
It is said that the mother of Jesus kept things close to her heart for later reflection (Luke 2:19). Maybe we should consider the words of those who walked in the shadow and shared the broken bread, as relics, standing like great pillars in history witnessing and recording these truths as pure historical evidence. Relics from our treasured past should remind us of something divine, because we first experienced them in truth and innocence. Ain’t it so!