June 29, 2015
by Mark Latta
Creighton University School of Dentistry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Solmenity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Lectionary: 590

Acts 12:1-11
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
Matthew 16:13-19
Praying Ordinary Time

The first reading today from Acts (12:1-11) describes Herod’s fatal persecution of James and his intent to kill Peter. Imagine the concern and fear of the early Church’s disciples at the violence and slaughter against their leaders. How could the early Church survive the sacrifice of “the Rock” upon which Jesus proclaimed he would build His Church (MT: 13-19).

We are reminded again that our mind is not God’s mind. We cannot always explain the extremes that evil can progress before God defeats the plans of the devil. We can become very demoralized by the chaos and calamity of evil in our world. In this case, God seemed to allow Herod early success in his effort to persecute the Church and take the life of Peter. While Peter’s execution was imminent and God could have intervened sooner, His plan tested the faith of His people and God’s power was revealed in an even greater way by the last minute reprieve. Peter’s own faith and those who looked to Peter were confirmed in spite of their patience and faith being challenged.  If Peter were to be asked in the ensuing years if he would have wanted God to have had him released sooner, we could only imagine that he would be content to have seen the wisdom and power of our Creator.

In faith, we pray. When confronted with evil and death, we must strive to not pray against our foes, but for our friends and for the manifestation of God’s will in our world. In our second reading, (2 TM 4:6-8) Paul speaks of his being poured out and of his having kept the faith and finished the race. Paul is mentoring Timothy and he asserts that he (like us) have our faithfulness dependent on God. As we run our own “races” let us take time to reflect and pray, as the early church prayed for Peter. With the Lord, we too can fight the fight, run the race and keep the faith.

With God, all things are indeed possible.

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