Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Two very unlikely companions, Peter and Paul. The most unlikely was the impulsive, passionate owner of a small fishing company whom Jesus called to leave his business to become a “fisher of men.” The other, a learned scholar – disciple of a great Jewish teacher who is renowned to this day – was a Roman citizen of cultural achievement, himself a natural teacher and former of communities.
Peter would steadily move on to Rome, preaching faithfully as he went – eager, if legend is to be believed – to avoid martyrdom in that city, only to be turned back by a vision of the Lord – and Peter’s haunting question: “Quo vadis, Domine” – “Where are you going, Lord?” And the answer: “To be crucified again in the City….” And Peter “turned again.”
Paul would turn the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean world upside down, and turn to the Gentiles, of whom he became the Apostle. His letters are the earliest documents we have in the New Testament, and they form the very foundation of our Faith.
Both were very different from each other in every way, and each had a different mission from the Lord. But both died in witness to Christ in the city of Rome, laying the symbolic foundation of that church which is the mother of all other churches. Today we celebrate this mysterious symbiosis in Christ, onto which we who share their faith are grafted.