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June 29

FOCUS:    Saints Peter and Paul were called to be bold preachers of the Gospel; we are called to be the same.

Reflection

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Today the church celebrates the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, both of whom worked to spread the Gospel message to both the Jews and the Gentiles in the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus.  By very different means, and from quite different backgrounds, these two saints answered the question that Jesus asks all of us as we begin and continue our life of faith, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter and Paul’s coming to know, believe in, and trust in Jesus as the path to eternal life completely changed the course of history in the Middle East and eventually throughout the world.

 

Peter recognized Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” through the blessing of a direct revelation from the Father in heaven.  As a result, Jesus chose Peter from among all the Apostles to be the “rock” on which the Catholic Church would be built.  Peter was the first in the line of succession of popes who are called to be the shepherd of the Church throughout history.  How fitting it is that St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is built directly above the tomb of St. Peter.

 

St. Paul, a scholar and persecutor of the first followers of the Apostles and “The Way” of Christ, recognized Jesus through a direct encounter with the voice of Jesus.  Paul was symbolically struck down from his high horse, blinded by the light of Jesus, and led by those with him to Ananias, who through the power of the Holy Spirit enabled Paul to regain his sight, be baptized and proclaim that Jesus was the Son of God.  His immediate conversion led him to be the “Apostle to the Gentiles,” and through his travels many regions were converted to Christianity.

 

The stories of Peter and Paul provide an inspiring history of the early Church.  But what about our role as disciples in today’s church in this time and place in history?  Like those great saints, it begins with our answer to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”  Is Jesus your role mode?  Is he your life coach and teacher?  He is indeed the best possible choice for these.  But He is so much more than that.  Jesus is our Messiah, the Son of the living God!!  If we believe this fact, then like Peter and Paul, our lives will be changed forever.

 

Jesus created the Church as our guide in all matters of faith, and as the spiritual home of the Body of Christ.  Jesus calls us to spread the Good News of eternal salvation through Him, giving us access to the power of the Holy Spirit as our strength and our guide.  The world needs you to share the Good News as much today as in the times of Peter, Paul, and all the Apostles.   Will you answer the call of Jesus?  Christ is counting on you!

 

Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection

How firm is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Will you answer the call to be His disciple?