June 29, 2014 A View from the Rectory Window

As you may recall, last weekend in the View from the Rectory Window, I encouraged you to save the date in order to celebrate with us our parish feast day on August 14.

This weekend, as our Church Universal celebrates the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, I believe we can discover in the lives of these great saints an example for our own parish. For, in Peter and Paul we find the grace of unity in diversity. And yes, I am confident because of my experience here that we can discover the richness that comes from our unity of faith in the different communities within our parish family.

This idea has been on my mind from the moment we merged and is especially at the forefront of my thoughts as we come together today to give God thanks for the two great apostles, Peter and Paul.

Consider that in their lifetime Peter and Paul did not work so closely together. Peter was called directly by Jesus and given “the keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:16-18). He is portrayed in icons carrying the keys. Paul, on the other hand, probably never met Jesus face to face. Once a persecutor of the church, his conversion came about through a vision on the road to Damascus. Paul’s inspiration and style of presenting the gospel came from visions and charismatic experiences. He is portrayed in icons carrying either a sword or a book. Peter and Paul were so different that Peter was surnamed the Apostle of the Jews and Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles. Paul even had a public disagreement with Peter on whether Jewish Christians could eat together with Gentile Christians. (Galatians 2).

As ordinary men, Peter and Paul might have avoided each other from time to time. Peter was a fisherman from the Sea of Galilee and Paul a Greek-educated intellectual. But Jesus brought them together as a sign for his Church in which the entire spectrum of humanity would find a new place to call home. Together they worked to build the church. Together they witnessed to Christ. Together they suffered the death of their Lord, death at murderous hands. Paul died by the sword and Peter was crucified head-down. They had a unity that transcended all differences. They teach us about the depth of Christian commitment

As we prepare to celebrate anew our parish feast, my prayer is that the different communities within our parish might recognize that Jesus has brought us together to build the church, to witness to Christ and to grow in the unity of faith that transcends all our differences.

Father Pete