Saint Peter and Saint Paul

THE SPARK OF LOVE

Every year, on 29th June, the Church celebrates with joy and gratitude the two great pillars of the Church. Glorious things are told of these zealous ambassadors of Christ. St Peter was called by Jesus himself and had the opportunity to live and move with Him. Though, at times hesitant and timid, Peter grew strong and firm like a rock, that made the Lord’s word come true in him, “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church (Mt.16:18).” His growth in the vocation he received, begins from his confession; “You are the Christ! The Son of the living God (Mt.16:16).” This revelation of Jesus makes him to exclaim the golden words; “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn.6:68).” He could not hold this priceless treasure to himself but went out to bear witness to It, with passion and perseverance. Finally, he sealed this unending joy with his blood when he was crucified upside down in Rome. On the other hand, St Paul did not live with Jesus like St Peter. But he was privileged to have the experience of the Lord on the way to Damascus (cf. Acts 9:1-5). This encounter was a turning point in the life of St Paul. His name changed from Saul to Paul and his mission took a new dimension. The flame of hate in him was turned into a fire of love for Jesus. Therefore, with confidence he could pronounce his mystical experience: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Gal.2:20).” Hence, his tireless long mission journeys, his epistles, preaching and the martyrdom in Rome by beheading with the sword has left an indelible mark of his love for Jesus in the history of the Church.

The response of Sts Peter and Paul to the call of Jesus becomes a model for all of us to follow. If, like Peter and Paul, we accept and allow Jesus to change our lives, surly, our stumbling steps in the life of faith will stand firm even in the midst of suffering and death. The spark of love ignited in us will engulf the world. Thus, to follow Jesus is to surrender to him everything; allow the change in oneself as Jesus wants; to let go all that is dear to us, like, ego, name, power and authority; and finally, allow Jesus to reflect in all that we do, say and mean. The meditation on the lives of these giant pillars of the church, reveals the truth that Jesus can call anyone, from any walk of life, to follow Him. God calls us individually and collectively as a community to follow Him. The lives of these Apostles challenge us to be a living witness of his never-ending love. Today when the world is suffering with Covid 19, there is an urgent need to be a witness to the love of Jesus. Let’s wakeup, rise above and march forward with Jesus to bring healing and to enkindle the flame of love in the world. May Sts Peter and Paul intercede for us.  

Fr. Joseph Souza (Diocese of Belgaum, India)

(Student in Rome) (June 2020)