June 23, 2024

On this first Sunday of summer, we celebrate the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We also have some major summer feasts coming up this week. On Monday, we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. At the Annunciation, Mary was told that her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant. Now, three months after that feast day, we have the birth of Elizabeth’s child, John the Baptist. Later this week, we have another major feast on our church calendar. Saturday, June 29 is the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. Peter was one of the original twelve apostles and along with James and John, was with Jesus at each of the most significant moments in his ministry. Paul, originally a Pharisee known as Saul, was called by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Originally an adamant persecutor of the church, Paul led the early missionary efforts of the church beyond the borders of Israel into Asia, Europe and ultimately Rome. These two apostles are among the “giants” of the early Church.

“The whole journey of life is a journey of preparation…to see, to feel, to understand the beauty of what lies ahead, of the homeland towards which we walk.”

Pope Francis

We look to the saints as role models and examples of encouragement in our own efforts to be disciples of the Lord. A common practice, though, is to elevate them to such a degree that we can no longer identify with them as human people. We remember their greatness and their successes and forget about their human struggles. Fortunately with Peter and Paul, their human side is clearly recorded for us in the Scriptures.

We are told that Peter had a temper and was a “hot-head.” He also gave in to his fears when he denied knowing the Lord following Jesus’ arrest on Holy Thursday. The good news is that Peter recovered and spent the rest of his life professing his faith in the risen Lord.

As a Pharisee, Paul was stubborn, rigid and resisted change of any kind. He believed that he knew all that there was to know about God and could not imagine that God could be any different from his expectations. He channeled all of his energy into destroying the new Christian movement. His efforts were so intense that God had to literally knock him off of his horse in order to get his attention. Following his conversion, Paul channeled that same energy into proclaiming his newfound faith throughout the known world. Both of these apostles became martyrs in Rome.

It is important for us to remember the struggles and the failures of our saints. We look to them as examples of Christian living as we follow the same path. When we rob them of their humanity, it is hard to see them as credible human examples. Peter and Paul are two passionate, human examples of the Christian life.

Next weekend, we will have the opportunity to participate in the annual “Peter’s Pence” appeal. This collection helps to fund the Holy Father’s personal efforts at caring for the needy and suffering of our world. Envelopes for this collection have been included in the pack mailed to your homes, or you may use a white pew envelope or donate online. As always, thank you for your generous response to this appeal.

Next weekend is my final weekend as pastor of St. Isidore. It has been an awesome 14 years of service to our parish. I will have the opportunity to share a few reflections at each Mass next weekend. Please pray for me as I begin my retirement, as I will continue to pray for you.

Happy summer season! May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.

 – Father Jim Murphy