Sunday, June 29, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

The Solemnity of Peter and Paul falls on a Saturday and Sunday this year. The whole church throughout the world has the opportunity to celebrate both the vigil and day of the feast.

We are lavished with two sets of readings. All, however, focus keenly on the two central figures of this feast: Peter and Paul.

Peter, the great apostle to the Jews, is called by Christ in bold terms to lead the church and, indeed, to be its very foundation: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

From this apostle will come three denials of Jesus at our Lord’s most vulnerable moment. But also from Peter will come a three-fold proclamation: “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”

Jesus calls him and sends him forth and eventually he will give his life completely as faithful disciple and follower of our Lord.

Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, is completely transformed through conversion of heart and soul to be the "super-apostle" of Jesus Christ. He makes a full circle from being a persecutor of the Christians to becoming a traveler of sea and land to proclaim Jesus as Lord to all and to establishing communities of faith "to the ends of the world."

Paul is willing to give his all and never count the cost: “I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

We have in Peter and Paul models, teachers and giants of faith. We may not proclaim Christ in great speeches as did Peter and Paul, but we do proclaim Christ every day by the way we live.

Selflessness and surrendering ourselves to God will bring us the same victory shared by Peter and Paul.

Christ built up his church through Peter and Paul. How is Christ building up his church through us, and how do we experience ourselves being "poured out like a libation"?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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