Engaging the Word: Solemnity of the Saint Peter and Paul, Apostles!
Today’s feast of St. Peter and St. Paul celebrates two great figures in the early history of the Church. These two apostles followed very different paths to Jesus, but the Church would not have survived and grown without their unique contribution. These two apostles are considered the founders of the Church of Rome, and St. Peter is counted as the first pope. Peter’s successor Pope Francis recently taught about the importance of the Church:
We are not isolated and we are not Christians on an individual basis, each to his or her own! We are Christians because we belong to the Church.
The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on. But no one, no one becomes Christian on his or her own. This is the Church: one great family, where we are welcomed and learn to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus.
In the Church there is no “do it yourself”, there are no “free agents”. At times one hears someone say: “I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I don’t care about the Church…” How many times have we heard this? And this is wrong. There are those who believe they can maintain a personal, direct and immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside the communion and the mediation of the Church. These are dangerous and harmful temptations. It’s true that walking together is challenging, and at times can be tiring. But the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to a few human beings, with all their gifts and limitations. And this is what it means to belong to the Church. Remember this well: to be Christian means belonging to the Church.
You cannot love God without loving your brothers, you cannot love God outside of the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being so in the Church, and we cannot be good Christians if we are not together with those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one single people, one single body, and this is the Church.
Leave a Reply