Today the Church celebrates Peter and Paul.
What I’m after today is what made these guys tick?
The red vestments indicate they died violently – but at any point they could have stood back and saved their lives. So, why didn’t they? What motivated them? This is what I’m after…
Jesus asks: Who am I?
First he asks the question rather generally, thus harmlessly; who do people say I am? There’s no threat in asking about what others think.
But then he turns up the heat: he makes it personal; who do you say I am?
Peter answers; you are the Christ… the Son of the living God.
Where did he get that from? Yes, sure, Jesus has worked a few miracles here and there but to get from a few miracles to Son of God? I guarantee you, not one of us here would get from a few miracles to Son of God. We’ve lost the enormity of this claim because we’ve grown up with it. Our familiarity with the Christian story hides us from the enormity of this claim. Thus few have made a real journey from the historical Jesus of Nazareth to Jesus as Lord. Familiarity breeds contempt!
I’d like you to catch it – if you can! The enormity of it; the Son of the living God!
Even the Taoiseach pictured (below) with Meaning of Life host Gay Byrne couldn’t get that far when interviewed on the Meaning of Life recently. Neither could Eamon Dunphy. But that shouldn’t surprise us – it’s an enormous claim.
Of course, that makes perfect sense because the moment I confess that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord (God), that’s the moment when I must logically give Him first place in my life.
I can’t truly believe that Jesus is Lord and then give Him second or third place… He must logically, reasonably take first place.
If you think about it there’s no way flesh and blood can convince anybody that Jesus is Lord (God). I might make a good argument in support of the claim but that’s about all it’ll be – an argument in support of the claim.
Thus even Jesus marvels at Peter’s confession of faith and significantly – and this is critical – He places the source of it beyond flesh and blood, even beyond Himself; “Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say…”
This is what made Peter and Paul ‘tick’. It wasn’t just flesh and blood, although flesh and blood played its part, it was God Himself! God infused something of the Divine life into them and supernaturally confirmed the work of flesh and blood.
Now, here’s something that really troubles me about those who’ve left the Church – did they never receive such a Confirmation? Well, what were they doing instead?