Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is June 29th, 2007: the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.
If you’re unusually aware of the way the Church calendar goes, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey, don’t we already commemorate Peter and Paul in January?” Well, that’s true. We recall The Confession of Peter on January 18th, and the Conversion of Paul on the 25th, just one week later. And in between, we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. So, just what are they doing on our plate again? And why are they together this time?
Well, the flip answer is to say that these two apostles are so important that if we remembered them every day we still wouldn’t run out of things to say about their influence on the faith. But that’s not really all of it. Church legend has it that both men suffered martyrdom in Rome, and that therefore, they should be remembered for that as well as for the rather dramatic ways each expressed his first brush with faith in Christ.
This year as I think about these two men I am struck by how different they were. Peter and Paul clashed often in life, understandably so, since they didn’t have much in common. Even their deaths were different. Paul, as a Roman citizen, would have been beheaded with a sword, but Peter, enjoying no such status, was crucified, just like Jesus (though the legend has it that Peter was crucified upside-down).
One of the readings for today comes from Paul’s letter to Timothy, and highlights one of the qualities they had in common. “I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost of patience in teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-8) Both Peter and Paul were very different, yet they loved their Lord, and ours, with everything they had, even their very lives. I think that they must look down on the world from Paradise and smile to think that the disputes they had on Earth are washed away by the power of the Gospel to bring people together. How I pray that one day the leaders of the various sides of today’s theological controversies will be proud to be remembered together for their common faith.
Let us pray: Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us July 4th at stjeromeschapel.org for Independence Day. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.
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