Tuesday, July 1, 2014
SS. Peter and Paul
Day lilies by the Lake in full bloom on this first morning in July.
Since "Peter" was the patron saint of two parishes that I have served and "Paul" is my own patron saint, I don't want their feast to pass without reflecting on it. They were both martyred in Rome, most likely in the 60's. This is considered the reason for the prominence of Rome among early Christians.
I am amused at their being linked in a common feast and as the name of many churches since they didn't exactly walk arm in arm. In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul tells how he rebuked Peter at Antioch, "for until certain people came from James, he (Peter) used to eat with the Gentiles," something that James thought was wrong. In Peter's second Letter near the end (3:15-16) Peter comments with regard to Paul's letters, "There are certain things in them that are hard to understand...."
I heard two people recently refer to Peter as the insider and Paul as the outsider. To stress that they were very close to each other in their religious views, one of our Scripture professors in the seminary referred to Peter as a "moderate conservative" and to Paul as a "moderate liberal." (He identified James as an "extreme conservative" and St. Stephen as an "extreme liberal."
I think it is helpful for us in our sadly divided Church to know that disagreements among faithful Christians are nothing new. This weekend I found myself more taken up with the fact that both saints, by their ministry, help us to see that spreading the faith is essential to being a follower of Christ.