I have always appreciated and identified with the human foibles of Saints Peter and Paul. Like Peter, I can be so impulsive. I can read & listen to the words of Jesus so often and still miss the message. Like Paul, I can be self-righteous, sure that I know the best way and plow ahead regardless of the ramifications for others. Hopefully I can also be humbled and seek forgiveness and the abundant mercy of our God.
In 2006, I had the wonderful experience of being at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome for the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul. This was the day Pope Benedict XVI consecrated new bishops from all over the world. Each bishop had family, parishioners and guests from their country wearing the native clothes. The colors, joyful music and readings in so many different languages were powerful. I realized in a new way the meaning of One Holy Catholic Church. I was surrounded by people from Texas, Korea, Nigeria, Uganda, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Germany, France and so many other places. The vibrant colors, the spirit of love and unity filled the entire congregation. I imagined this was what the first Pentecost might have been like.
We are truly a universal church. We are rooted in the scriptures, sacraments and traditions handed down from the time of St. Peter, the rock upon which Jesus built this church. Like St. Paul the Gospel message is being carried to all nations. Let us celebrate all that unites us in Christ’s love, especially during this time when we are grieving and healing from the fires in Black Forest.
Jan Ginzkey, OSB