Some Churches traditionally ordain priests and deacons around “Petertide” as a reminder of the roles of leadership and preaching that were exercised by the apostles Peter and Paul. The feast reminds us that the same service of handing on the faith is entrusted to the successors of Peter and Paul. It is our task today to maintain that living tradition of Jesus by being meticulous in the way we care for each other and by being bold in the way we take Christ’s message to the world. In our worship today we thank God for
having been enriched by the Christian faith and we ask that we may experience the joy of following the Lord.
Faced with the greatness of these two saints, it’s easy to collapse in a Christian heap and think that there is no way that we, ordinary mortals, can ever live up to the high standards of Peter and Paul. But when we take a closer look at them we find that they’re not so different from us as at first we might think. Each one of them wanted to love and follow Jesus, but they had their own problems which meant that they had to keep on trying if they were to succeed in cooperating with God’s Spirit in living out their Christian calling.
It’s easier to identify with Peter more than with some of the other apostles. Not only is he trying to be a down-to-earth honest and willing person, but he’s also got all the foibles that we have. What Jesus, in effect, said to Peter he says to us: “It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe, but my Father’s revelation. I, not you, build my Church.”
Like Peter we sometimes think that it’s all down to us, to our actions and our commitment, without realising that we are only effective Christians
if we allow the Spirit to work through us.
Paul’s experience of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. But persecution, humiliation and weakness became his day-by-day carrying of the cross, material for further transformation. The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life. We too are no strangers to weakness, to lack of spiritual energy and to wondering whether it’s all worth it. Trying to be a muscular Christian is a constant temptation, especially when we lose sight of the fact that we are called to present Jesus to our world, rather than carry the world on our back to Jesus.
Peter and Paul: role models for you and me.