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Saints Peter and Paul
Sunday, July 01 2012

Saints Peter and Paul...

This week, I'd like to reflect on a portion of a verse from the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul:

I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  -2 Timothy 4:7, NAB

It could be argued that few men have done more for the Church than Saints Peter and Paul.  St. Peter was the original leader of the Church, the first pope, and St. Paul can be credited for writing much of the New Testament.  Surely, without these two men, Christianity would be much different today.  On Friday, June 29th, we celebrated their Solemnity, and I would like to reflect on their lives.
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St. Peter is a character that we first meet in the Gospels.  He was a simple fishermen who gave up everything to follow Jesus.  He had times of strength and times of weakness, but throughout the Gospels, we seem him emerging as a leader.  In Matthew 16, Jesus gives St. Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and his role as leader of the Church begins.

St. Paul appears first in Acts - not as a Christian but as someone persecuting Christians.  In Acts 9, he is confronted by Jesus for his persecutions and converts to Christianity.  His path completely changed, and he became one of the most influential early Christians.  Many of the New Testament epistles, or letters, were written by St. Paul, which helped to shape the very foundations of our faith.

These two men did not begin their lives as great theologians; however, God's plan for them sent them on a path to lead and guide the early Church.  Like these two great saints, we are called to continue their ministry, to keep spreading the faith, regardless of our history.  We are asked to join the race.

When St. Paul wrote today's verse to Timothy, he was at the end of his race; he knew his time was coming soon.  Reflecting back on his life, he felt confident that he had given everything he had.  We can only hope to do the same.  Imagine the race is a relay, and the baton has been passed to you.  It's now your turn to run as hard and as fast you can to the finish line.

From the beginning of history, few men have made more of an impact than Saints Peter and Paul.  They may not have started out the race strong, but they completed it well.  They gave everything they had for Christ; now, we must do the same.  It is time to join the race and continue the work they started 2,000 years ago.

 

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