Called to be a Messenger of the Gospel

One was a poor fisherman with little or no education. For three years he followed the Rabbi from Nazareth, even though he didn’t always understand what the Rabbi said or did. Once, the fisherman suggested that the Rabbi not speak so openly about the suffering he would endure because people would not understand and become upset. The Rabbi responded angrily, sending him away. The night before the Rabbi’s death, the fisherman was too embarrassed to allow the Rabbi to wash his feet. And just as the Rabbi had foretold, the fisherman, who at first took out a sword to defend the Rabbi from the guards who came to arrest him, denied even knowing him when confronted a few hours later – by a servant girl.

The other was a learned rabbi himself, a skilled craftsman who was an expert maker of tents. He was a passionate writer and preacher, and a loyal defender of Judaism. He was a man of stature in the community, respected by both his own people and the Roman occupiers of his nation. A man who ruled by his convictions, he led the first persecutions against the new sect of radicals and troublemakers who threatened the Jewish faith – the so called “Christians.”

But it was upon the fisherman Simon – Peter, who was called the “rock,” that Jesus established his new church.

And it was Saul of Tarsus – who would be known after his conversion as Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, who the Lord called to proclaim the Gospel to the farthest ends of the earth.

A fisherman and a scholar. A poor simple worker who scraped together what living he could from the fish he caught and a man of letters and position. One was quiet, simple, rough around the edges and often overwhelmed by the events that took place around him. The other a man of great intelligence and passion, a masterful writer, orator and visionary.

But both were called by God to the role of apostle – “messenger” of the Gospel. Both responded and cooperated with God’s grace.

This Sunday, since it is June 29th, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul rather than the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The lives of these two extraordinary men show how God uses individuals of every kind of background, intellect and talent to the role of “apostle” – one who is sent forth to proclaim, to reveal and to teach the story of God and His love for all people. That includes you and me!

As we prepare for the celebration of this solemnity, it might be good to take a little quiet time to prayerfully reflect on our baptismal promises to reject sin and profess our faith in Christ Jesus. Then, recommit to using whatever talents and abilities we have to proclaim by the very rhythm of our life the Gospel we have embraced by the very rhythm of our life.

Question – What do you find yourself doing in order to give witness to God’s love for all people?

June 25th, 2014 |