In the opening couple of lines in the movie PRAY, about the life of Venerable Patrick Peyton, Seamus, an Irishman, half-jokingly says the phrase, "you can't make this up." Seamus is referring to the incredible story about to be retold through the movie—it is all true; it all happened. The story of how Father Peyton, a young Irishman, left Ireland for America, an immigrant who came to live with his sister in Scranton, PA, and would go on to become a priest known the world over.
As I read the readings for today, I discovered that we were commemorating the lives of Saint Faustina and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, CSsR, as well as listening to Saint Paul tell us about his rebuke of Saint Peter. You just can't make this up.
Each individual is so unique, so different, yet an integral part of this One, Holy, Roman, Catholic Church that we are also a part of with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. You can't make this up; four different, unique persons with at least one thing in common—the Lord's Prayer.
One is a Polish nun Saint Faustina Kowalska, who received little formal education and became known for being the recipient of apparitions from Jesus and recorded these in a Diary. The words are God's message of Divine Mercy, asking us to trust in Jesus' endless mercy and to treat others with mercy.
Then there is Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, born in Germany, came to the United States, entered the Redemptorist novitiate, and became an itinerant missionary preacher, a pastor in New Orleans, where he died of yellow fever at the age of 48. He was known as a joyfully attentive pastor.
Our last diverse personalities encountered today come in St. Paul and St. Peter, whose exchange St. Paul recounts in today's first reading. Paul was known for his work with uncircumcised or pagans, and Peter for his work with the Jews. Reading the text, one could surmise that these two giants were quite different; both were strong-willed and acknowledged receiving God's grace to undertake their respective missions. We heard how Paul publicly rebuked Peter, even opposing him to his face.
[St. Paul] said to Cephas [Peter] in front of all, "If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews" (Galatians 2:14)?
You can't make this up. We do not need to look far to find contrary ways of being "Church." Christians have never been wholly and totally on the same page dating back to those who even walked and talked with Jesus, a testament that our Catholic Church thrives by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by our imperfect and sometimes less than gracious selves.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!