A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF STS. PETER AND PAUL – 6/29/30 – SMG
Pax et Bonum!
We know that when it comes to comic book super heroes, that the Dynamic Duo is Batman and Robin. But we also know, that when it comes to many areas of life, great duos have left a lasting impression on all of us. For example when it comes to comedy, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were all standout duos. Or how about modern music? Can you imagine music today without the great duos of John Lennon and Paul McCarthy, or Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, or Salt and Pepa?
Well, the Catholic Church has some pretty great duos also: St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, St Francis of Assisi and St. Clare, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, just to name a few. But the very biggest dynamic duo that the Catholic Church has ever produced has to be St. Peter and St. Paul. Today, June 29th, is their Feast Day. We celebrate this Feast Day every year, but every several years, the Feast Day comes up on a Sunday, and we get to celebrate it all together. And I love that, because today’s Feast Day has some real important messages for all of us, that too often we miss out on!
It is not hard to wonder around Rome today and see many examples of just how important St. Peter and St. Paul are to the Catholic Church. One of the biggest reasons we are the Roman Catholic Church is all because St. Peter and St. Paul, two of our most influential founding members, were both martyred in Rome and are both buried in Rome. Both have magnificent basilicas built over their graves. Nearly every church in Rome, has statues, and icons, and paintings, and mosaics of these two holy men. Outside the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where St. Paul is buried, there are two massive statues of both of these saints, with St. Peter on the left, holding the keys to the Kingdom, and St. Paul on the right, holding a sword, representing the word of God, and a Bible. These two statues are over eighteen feet tall. You stand at the base of these statues and you look up and think about super heroes! There, sculpted in marble, are these two very strong-looking men, with great beards, and muscles, and extraordinary confidence in God. You look at those two statues and you just feel so small, like you really are in the presence of the Dynamic Duo of the Catholic Church!
In reality, we know that while the Catholic Church was build on and by the Apostles, we also know that they weren’t always super heroes. St. Peter denied Christ three times. He acted without thinking. He frequently couldn’t remain true to what his words were. He was always putting his foot into his mouth! In fact, as we read Sacred Scripture, St. Peter doesn’t seem to be like such a good choice to be the First Pope. He was a very imperfect man. And St. Paul wasn’t any better. He was arrogant and proud. He first persecuted Christians. He was there when St. Stephen was being stoned to death. He was a hot head and could use his words as swords to cut people down. These may very well have not been the two guys that most of us would have picked to head up our Church. And, on top of it all, the two of them didn’t get along very well. What kind of Dynamic Duo can you be when the two of you can’t even get along?
Sts. Peter and Paul were very human people. They weren’t super heroes. They were a lot more like you and me than we realize. But when these two head-strong men both gave their lives to God, that’s when incredible things started happening!
And this is the important message of this Feast Day today for all of us! We’re not perfect. We’re not super heroes. And we don’t always get along either. But make no mistake about it, our God can use each one of us as effectively, or even more effectively, than what He did St. Peter and St. Paul. All we have to do is cooperate! All we have to do is work with Him. We honor these two great leaders of our Church today, not because they were such incredible heroes on their own, but because both of them had enough Faith to know that God would make them better than they could be on their own. We’ve got to know that same thing. We’ve got to be committed to that same thing. Let God lead you in your life. And don’t try to do it the other way around!
May God bless us on this Feast Day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti … Pray for us !!!