June 29, 2014 – Saints Peter & Paul – Year A

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Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul: the two mighty pillars of the Church;
St. Peter, the Apostle to the Jewish Nation, and St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. We often see Peter and Paul embracing one another (brotherly) love. They both certainly were very different people with different temperaments. They both ministered to two mutually opposed groups of people (the Jews and the Gentiles. And they both certainly had their differences, recalling when Paul, at one time opposed Peter to his face. In spite of this apparent tension, we see today within this feast an example of how we are to live with each other in the Church. Certainly, as people from all walks of life, we will have differences. We are all different people with different needs. However, today’s feast shows us that the Church is first and foremost a place where God’s love reigns (as the Lord said, the world will know us by the love we have one for another.) It is this love from God that enables us to overcome our interpersonal difficulties and it is this love that reminds us that with God all things are possible, when Christ commands us to “love our enemies” it is with the full knowledge that it is His love and grace that will empower us to do so. God doesn’t ask us to “like” our neighbors and enemies, He commands us to “love” our neighbors and our enemies, a task which is far greater and is not predicated on how we feel but it is a choice: it is a conscious decision on our part to will the highest good for everyone we come into contact with. Love is therefore a choice. It is how we choose to act/respond. The great Saints Peter and Paul exemplify to us that even if we are different and even if we have disagreements, we can still live and work together in the Church and we can find reconciliation one to another through God’s grace and love, that is, if we are willing.

Often times the only thing that stands in the way of us being truly reconciled one to another is a conscious choice to be humble and to say with heartfelt meaning to those who offend us: “Forgive me.” Today’s feast also reminds us that we cannot live our Christian life alone. Peter was one arm of the Body of Christ and Paul the other, both of which the Lord used to build a foundation which stands rock solid to this very day. They were like the Sun and the Moon, providing the light for the Church day by day, for almost two millennia. Enough cannot be said concerning the two greatest Apostles that the Church and the world has ever known. And yet, they both had been exceedingly humbled by circumstances in their lives and thereby also became two examples of repentance.