Unlikely Disciples: Reflection for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul by Mary Ruddy
Spirited Reflection — Sunday, June 29
Mary Ruddy is a member of the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Pembroke). For the past four years she represented the CRC KAIROS Communities on the Sustainability Circle.
Peter and Paul, what an unlikely pair to share a feast day! Peter, the fisherman, the first to answer the call of Jesus; Paul, the Pharisee, persecutor of Christians, the last to be called ‘apostle’.
For all their surface differences in education, in culture, both experienced a deep conversion of heart, both were passionate in spreading the Good News of Jesus. In inviting followers Jesus made clear that both uniqueness of personalities and varieties of gifts were welcome. Think of Matthew, the tax collector, James and John, Judas. So it was that Simon who loved greatly despite his moment of weakness in denying Jesus was the very one chosen to be Peter – the rock- the leader carrying forth the Good News. So it was that the fiery Saul who witnessed the stoning of Stephen and who sought to destroy the followers of Jesus became Paul the great missionary to the Gentiles, the great teacher of the Gospel.
As we reflect on the hunger of our world for love, peace, justice, we hear the words of Paul in today’s reading (2 Timothy 4: 6-7; 17)
Beloved: I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it.
Can we make these words ours? Both Peter and Paul gave their lives to spread the Good News of God’s love and our call to love one another. Both died martyrs’ deaths. In them we see examples of the Spirit of God working through the weaknesses and strengths of the most unlikely persons! What a challenge this is to each one of us who call ourselves “Christian”. What excuse can we offer for failing to witness the Gospel in our very lives?