A word from Pope Francis ~ “The Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need to achieve holiness in the midst of our everyday lives.”
On this final Sunday in June, we celebrate the 13th Sunday in Ordinary time. Our Gospel reading follows immediately upon last Sunday’s reading of Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with his apostles and stilling a violent storm which had suddenly blown in on them. Today’s reading begins, “When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him….” Mark then gives us two healing stories as a story within a story – the raising of a synagogue official’s daughter and the healing of woman afflicted with a hemorrhage for twelve years. The main message is given to us in the middle story. Overcoming her fears of making him ritually unclean, the afflicted woman approaches and touches Jesus. His response – “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” The message of this story within a story is that despite one’s fear, faith (trust in Jesus) can save you and make you whole.
This Tuesday we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul. It is a major Feast on our church calendar. Peter was one of the original twelve apostles and along with James and John, was with Jesus at the most significant moments in his ministry. Paul, originally a Pharisee and known as “Saul,” was called by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles. 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.
In our Catholic tradition, 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 high 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 tempter and was a “hot-head.” He also gave in to his fears when he denied knowing the Lord following Jesus’ arrest on Holy Thursday night. 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 and resisted change of any kind. 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 and are among the “giants” of the early church.
As we celebrate their feast day on Tuesday, it is important for us to remember the struggles and the failures they each faced in the early days of the church. We look to them as examples of Christian living as we follow the same path as disciples of the Lord. On Tuesday we celebrate a feast in honor of two passionate, human examples of Christian life.
This weekend we 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. Please use the envelopes that were provided in the packs you received in the mail, or the white envelopes in the pews, or contribute online. As always, thank you for your generous response.
As we end our fiscal year on Wednesday, I want to thank you for your regular and faithful support of our parish through your Sunday offerings. This year of the pandemic has been a year unlike any other year we have seen. The Sunday collection is our primary source of income for our parish. Your generosity makes it possible for us to do all that we do here at St. Isidore.
Enjoy the blessing of summer. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy