Today we remember and celebrate the memory of two great apostles. Both of them gave themselves completely to their Lord, Jesus, and both of them faced tremendous persecution, culminating in death in Rome.
So much can be said about their calls, about their passion, even their struggles. The Peter stories in the gospels are etched in our memory. So many of Paul's words have shaped our faith. Today, however, I am struck by three aspects of their lives.
Peter and Paul were totally focused on the person of Jesus. Their relationship with him was everything for them. Jesus called them away from their former lives. He missioned them. On a daily basis, it was Jesus who sustained them and gave them life and passion.
Peter and Paul were transformed by the Holy Spirit. They went from being such unlikely apostles to being "on fire" with sharing the Good News of salvation given to us in Jesus. They had courage and total trust in God. In their passion, they had discernment and openness to let the Spirit lead them. They were open to let their differences be resolved in dialogue and trust in the Spirit's presence among them. And, led by the Spirit to Rome, they surrendered to death as their Savior had done for them.
Finally, Peter and Paul never lost sight that they were sinners - loved sinners, sent to share the power of God's love in Jesus. It kept them humble, compassionate with other sinners, always confident in God's loving mercy. They were always aware that their salvation was a tremendous gift, which they had not earned.
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