How do we really know Jesus Christ founded a specific Church? - Dr Jeff MirusCatholic Culture
Sunday Mass at St Mair
REFLECTION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF ST PETER AND ST PAUL
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles God’s unlikely heroes!
Today, as a church we are remembering and celebrating two of Gods’ most unlikely heroes; Peter and Paul. Each in their own way carried on the mission and ministry of Jesus as they proclaimed the gospel through their words and actions as missionary disciples in the early church.
The gospels tell us that Peter knew Jesus for at least three years. He was one of his closest friends and followers. He heard Jesus speak and teach, he saw Jesus work miracles. Peter was at the Last Supper with Jesus; he was witness to all that happed to Jesus. And, as we know Peter not only witnesses these events, he was directly involved in them. Famously, he denied that he even knew Jesus as he was being arrested and beaten prior to his crucifixion and death. Peter lost faith in Jesus, but Jesus never lost his faith in Peter.
When Jesus appeared to his friends after the resurrection, he asked Peter not once, but three times whether he loved Jesus! When Peter says he did love him, Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep… feed my sheep.’ So Peter, the very one who denied and disowned Jesus is now called, chosen and entrusted with responsibility of leading this new infant group called ‘The Christians,’which will eventually become the Church, the People of God.
Given his history, no one in their right mind would have picked Peter to lead the new church. But God’s ways are not our ways. God does not choose the powerful, the wealthy, the clever or the important. God chooses the least likely who have the most potential. As it says in the Old Testament; God does not look at outer appearances, but at the heart of a person.
Paul never actually met Jesus, but he did experience Jesus in a most profound way. He was Jew of high standing. He was entrusted with the responsibility of hunting down, and if necessary killing these new Christians. He watched as Stephen, the first martyr was stoned to death. They were a threat to everything Paul (then called Saul) believed and held sacred; his Jewish faith and the Law.
But on the road to Damascus; he heard these words, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ By persecuting the followers of Jesus, Saul is persecuting Jesus himself. Saul becomes Paul, the greatest missionary of the early Church. Again, God does not look at outer appearance, but at the heart of a person.
We have to be very careful that we don’t simply worship, and praise them from afar as if they were or are totally different than we are today. These are role models of what it means to be a follower of Jesus today. Jesus called Peter who denied him and Paul who persecuted him to be his witnesses; so why wouldn’t the same Jesus call you and me today to be his witness and followers? Are we so different from these two men? Perhaps we when hear Jesus call us by our name, we might say Who me or Why me? Maybe that’s what Peter and Paul both said when Jesus called them by their name! We say, Lord, ‘Why me?’ Jesus says, ‘Why not you?.’
Br Michael Moore OMI
With thanks to
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Excerpt from "The Roots of Christian Conscience", 1986 - Henri J. M. Nouwen