June 29, 2014 - Saints Peter and Paul, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Today we celebrate this double commemoration of Saints Peter and Paul. They each played a significant role in the foundation of the ancient Church in Rome over 2000 years ago.
They are faithful rocks upon which our church is built. Both were called by the Lord to proclaim the Word of God, to bring the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.
Jesus called Peter to be the chief shepherd among shepherds, the first among the Apostles, the leader of the church.
Jesus called Peter to make a three-fold declaration of love to make up for his three-fold denial. “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
This declaration brought with it the task of shepherding the flock entrusted to his care.
Jesus called Paul to conversion. This Jewish leader had persecuted the early Christians ruthlessly. But Jesus called him to love the very people he had persecuted.
Jesus called Paul to go to the ends of the ancient world to proclaim the Good News.
Both men loved Jesus so much that they gave their lives as martyrs in Rome. Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified.
Now, here’s something that might surprise you. Peter and Paul were not alike. They were very different. They had different personalities and different preaching styles.
Peter was a fisherman from the Sea of Galilee and Paul was a Greek-educated intellectual.
In spite of their differences, Jesus brought them together to build the church. They had a unity that transcended all their differences.
They didn’t always agree but they always worked together to build up the church in Rome and the church throughout the ancient world.
They each brought to the community of faith their own unique gifts of style and mission.
We look to them as examples for us. We, too, are called to bring our own unique gifts and talents to the Lord. We, too, are called to work to build up the church.
Here are just a few ideas of simple things we can do:
- Take an interest in other people, reach out in love to the sick, the needy, the lonely
- Become a mentor by volunteering to help with our religious education program which is in the process of being revamped
- Support a charity, giving to one who can do nothing in return
- Take an interest in this church parish, offer to help in whatever way you can
- Smile at people when you come to church, greet others making them feel welcome
- Seek holiness through prayer, but don’t forget that prayer without good deeds is totally lifeless
So on this great feast commemorating Peter and Paul, let us rejoice that Jesus still calls people to serve and to care for God’s holy people.
And let us give thanks that some who are called still respond generously to that call by giving of themselves in service to God and our Church.