Blog Post - June 29th
Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul
Peter (d. 64?). St. Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter's life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.
The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane. His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus. He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus' death. His name is first on every list of apostles.
And to Peter only did Jesus say, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19).
But the Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about Peter. He clearly had no public relations person. It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus.
He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, "What are we going to get for all this?" (see Matthew 19:27). He receives the full force of Christ's anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah: "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (Matthew 16:23b).
Peter is willing to accept Jesus' doctrine of forgiveness, but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith, but sinks in doubt. He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed. He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus, and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man. He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus's ear, but in the end he runs away with the others. In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him, and he goes out and sheds bitter tears. The Risen Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep (John 21:15-17).
Paul (d. 64?). If the most well-known preacher today suddenly began preaching that the United States should adopt Marxism and not rely on the Constitution, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul's life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us. He had been the most Pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers. Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate.
Paul's central conviction was simple and absolute: Only God can save humanity. No human effort — even the most scrupulous observance of law — can create a human good which we can bring to God as reparation for sin and payment for grace. To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus.
Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ. He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God's chosen people, the children of the promise.
In light of his preaching and teaching skills, Paul's name has surfaced (among others) as a possible patron of the Internet.
We would probably go to confession to Peter sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: "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." 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.
Proof in Actions:
We must reach the heart. To reach the heart, we must DO - love is proven in deeds. People are attracted more by what they see than by what they hear. If people wish to help, let them come and see. The reality is more attractive than the abstract idea.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Live calmly, and do not worry excessively, because in order to work more freely in us, the Holy Spirit needs tranquility and calm.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Two: 112-188
We now enter into Notebook Two of the six notebooks that make up the Diary of Saint Faustina. The reason for having more than one notebook is simply that when one notebook was filled by Saint Faustina she began with a new one. Therefore, there is nothing particularly different from one notebook to the other. However, for the purpose of this current book of daily reflections, each reflection will begin to be lengthened, starting here with Notebook Two, so as to help you, the reader, enter more deeply into the beautiful mysteries of faith and our shared spiritual life that have been revealed in these writings of Saint Faustina.
You are invited once again to take one reflection each day and to ponder it throughout the day. Try to pray the prayer for each reflection each morning, noon and evening. Allow each mystery reflected upon to become a source of wisdom and understanding for you.
Reflection 180: The Passion of Jesus
We who are familiar with the Gospels may suffer, at times, from a certain indifference to the sufferings of Christ. We hear the story read each year, have seen many images of the Passion, and as a result of this familiarity, we can fail to allow it to have the proper effect on our lives. But the Passion is real, it happened, and we should give it our full attention. Though it may not be pleasant, on one level, it is an act of love so mysterious that it requires much grace to enable us to penetrate its meaning and significance in our lives. Every scourge, ridicule, nail and thorn wounded not only our Lord’s body, but it caused excruciating pain to His soul. But every pain that He endured He took into His Heart and redeemed it, offering it to the Father for the salvation of all. We must see this great mystery of our faith and gaze upon it in awe and holy wonder (See Diary #948).
Have you gazed upon the suffering Jesus? Have you allowed yourself to see His pain and His suffering? Have you seen Him endure all in silence and acceptance? Reflect upon this incredible mystery of our faith this day and allow yourself to grow in love and compassion for Him who endured so much for you. Know that His suffering destroyed the effects of sin and transformed suffering itself into the instrument of His Divine Mercy.
Precious Lord, I thank You for Your suffering. For in this act You took human suffering into Your glorious soul and redeemed it. You endured the effects of my sin and said not a word. Lord, You paid the price for my sins and You did so with perfect love and resolve. Give me the grace, dear Lord, to embrace all that I suffer and to unite it to the redeeming power of Your holy Cross. In that unity, free me from my sins and pour forth Your abundance of Mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.