Who do people say that I am?
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Flesh and blood did not reveal this to Simon son of Jonah, but the heavenly Father. Simon Peter did not figure this out by human deduction, “for the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1Cor1:25). Rather, this truth, the greatest truth ever, could only be spoken, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire man to cry out “My Lord and my God” or “Abba, Father.” The results have been devastating for the devil and sweetness for the Father of us all.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Two great Apostles, passionately in love with the Lord and who endured their passion faithfully till their last breath. Once they understood who Christ was, the Lord revealed to them who they were: You are Peter or Cephas or Rock! You are Paul, Jew and Gentile, turned Christian. These two men single handedly divided the world and conquered souls for Christ by setting the world on fire. They lived what they preached and preached what they lived. The Lord gave them a new heart, a new life, a new mission and a new goal that awaited them, “the crown of righteousness!”
Their lives could not have been more different. There is much we can learn from these two Apostles. Peter followed the Lord from the beginning of his ministry; Paul, after the resurrection. It doesn’t matter when one receives the grace to follow. What is important is that we follow! Paul was highly educated; Peter, hardly. But the grace of God can turn any man into a Holy man. It doesn’t take a PhD to follow Jesus, or fall on our knees and pray. Peter was one of the first, Paul, a late bloomer- an afterthought. But the Lord allowed these two men to share a common love: souls; a common bond: Apostle of Christ; a common fate: martyrdom; a common goal: Heaven. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Even this holds true of our two saints!
Today, we celebrate the lives of Peter and Paul that finished the race and kept the faith. The only fear these two heroes ever felt was not preaching the Word of God (cf. 1Cor9:16). Let us learn from their example; to break the chains of human limitations and resources; to follow the Lord at all times, convenient or inconvenient; to build up the Church of Christ, slowly but surely, while breaking down the gates of Hell. Isn’t this the history of the world they helped to write? Now, what will we do to help? Who will people say that I was?