Today we celebrate the Feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. In many ways, these two servants of God are preeminent in the life of the Church and faith. St. Peter preached the first sermon of the Church, on the day of Pentecost, and about 3,000 people came to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The holy Apostle Peter preached the Gospel of our salvation throughout Palestine, and in Asia Minor, and in Rome, where he was crucified upside down (at his own request) at the order of the Emperor Nero. St. Paul is noteworthy for both the many missionary journeys he made in order to bring the good news of our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ to as many people as possible; and for the letters he wrote, which make up a good portion of the books of the New Testament. Through his writings, he continues to teach the faithful and the seekers, even to this day.
It is good for us to remember and to celebrate the lives and ministries of St. Peter and St. Paul. But I have no doubt that, if we were able to ask them how best we might honor and celebrate them, they would say, “Embrace the life and teachings of the Orthodox Church, and live as witnesses to the love of God in Jesus Christ. Seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and love one another, as Christ loves us, and gives Himself for us.”
We may never preach a sermon to 3,000 people. We may never make journeys as missionaries to foreign lands, putting our lives at risk for the sake of bringing light to those in darkness. But we can make a statement with our lives wherever we happen to find ourselves, by living a life that is holy and pure, loving God, and loving and caring for each other in the love of God. We can preach without words to our families, and our friends, to our neighbors, our coworkers, and even to strangers, by not living according to the wisdom of this world, but instead by living according to the way of life set forth for us by the Church. We can meet adversities and need with long-suffering patience, and with prayer – and people will take notice. We can fast, even when the world is not – and people will take notice. We can give from what God has given to us, for the work of the Church, and for those in need – and people will take notice. We can do all in our power to refrain from sin, and from indulging our weaknesses, putting aside anger and hatred, greed, lust – and people will take notice. Some of those who notice will mock us, even hate us – but some will be drawn to find out why we do what we do; and if we are prepared to give them an answer, we will have become like the apostles to them in their need.
Brothers and sisters, called to be saints: Let us honor the holy memory of the glorious and all-praised Apostles Peter and Paul by joining them in the awesome task of making Christ known in our words and in our lives, to the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.
Source: Rumblings from a Desert Cave
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