“If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, you can tell the Love of Jesus and say he died for all.” That is the second stanza of one of my favorite hymns, Thereis a Balm in Gilead.
Peter and Paul - one called by the Sea of Galilee and the other on the Road to Damascus; one a blue-collar fisherman and the other a sophisticated Pharisee and Roman citizen. They are linked on this day because they had their names changed and they carried the Gospel message to the center of civilization with firm faith. They both died in Rome as the two greatest apostles, one crucified upside down and the other beheaded. Paul is buried beneath the Church of Saint Paul and Peter is buried directly beneath the main altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Peter and Paul were flawed. Peter was weak and Paul was a hothead. Jesus summoned Simon beyond his flaws to become Peter, The Rock upon which the Lord would build his Church. Saul become Paul, the great Apostle to the nations.
What of their faith? For Peter it was, “You are the Messiah, Son of the living God.” “Lord, to whom shall we go? We believe that you have the words of eternal life.” And for Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” And, “I am determined to know nothing else but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”
Friends, for 106 days in our families and communities, we have had to live simpler, quieter and more circumscribed daily lives. As unsettling as this has been, it also beckons us back to the dynamic core of our faith.
Lord, help us to be firm in faith like Peter and Paul. Amen.
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About Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C.
Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C. is President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. He entered Holy Cross Fathers in 1964. He earned a Bachelors in Philosophy from Stonehill College in 1967 and a Masters in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. In addition to English, Father Willy is conversant in French and Spanish. He's a native of Old Town, Maine and one of 12 children. He remains a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though he has served as Chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.