- Created: Sunday, 29 June 2014 23:26
- Written by Br. Daniel Thomas
12th Sunday of the Church Year.
Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul (d. 64 & 67)
Scripture Readings for today\\\'s Liturgy:
2nd Timothy 4:6 … 18
“Simon Peter said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:17)
I hope you can see what the Church does for us in these days after Pentecost. We pass through a parade of “solemnities” from top to bottom. It’s like an outline of the important concepts of our faith and the persons that are key in making us understand the ups and downs of our following Jesus. Today, we are given this “Solemnity” of two rough-cut figures: Peter and Paul. If you take a moment to think about these two men: Peter, the hard-working fisherman. Probably not too well educated but still tough enough to stand on his own. And Paul: just the opposite. A Pharisee schooled in the Law and a convert in a most dramatic way. They become a sort of “yang/yang pair” as they each teach us something about following Jesus. Paul, a zealot; Peter, a little bit more tentative in his gradual understanding of which Jesus is. Both of these characters are spotlighted in order to help all of us come to a deeper level of our faith in Jesus and what that means in our lives. When Jesus asks the disciples who do people say that I am they give Him textbook answers: John the Baptist or Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets. To these answers Jesus retorts, “But who do YOU say that I am?” Be sure not to overlook the “I AM” hint. It’s Peter that gets the answer right and the one whom Jesus chooses to be the foundation “rock” of the Church. We can’t forget that both of these great foundation stones of our faith still have to pass through a conversion phase which requires them to make a complete turning around as they come to a tried and true understanding of their roles as leaders. Peter – who in this Gospel is the one who gets the answer straight – will later have some kind of lapse of memory when asked, in the dark of night at the High Priest’s house, if he knows Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, has everything concerning God well defined according to his “Pharisaic training.” He needs to be knocked to the ground in order to “see the light.” Peter: the rough-tough fisherman who’s so confident when surrounded by the other disciples can boldly answer Jesus’ question. When he’s alone in the darkness of night his confidence fades and, in fear, he says, “I don’t know the man!” Three times!
Peter and Paul get paired up in our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. There’s always a little of both of these characters in all of our lives. We’ll be confident and stouthearted in our allegiance in the daylight but come darkness – in whatever form trials come to us – and we forget everything we swore we would never do. That’s when we need to be knocked down a peg or two in order for us to really “see the light.” Today’s “solemnity” could be sub-titled, “The Feast of second chances” which most of us need many times in our lives. Why do you think the Church has “confessions” over and over as we, like Peter, say, “leave me Lord! I am a sinful person!” Nothing is beyond the mercy of God as He makes our faith “rock-solid” and lit by the Light of Christ. Amen!