Today is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. These two apostles are recognized as the prime movers in the spread of the early Christianity, leading missionary efforts, resolving conflicts, clearing confusions, admonishing, teaching and serving the early Christian communites. We might add Mary. These three were the reference persons and the guiding lights of the early Christians in their bold new undertaking of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were simple folks and they probably had no inkling that in following the mission given them by Christ, they would be changing the world.
Peter and Paul went forth into the world and proclaimed the Gospel with force and main. They did wondrous acts, healing many and preaching the good news of salvation and baptizing all who responded to their call and invitation to follow Christ. They also unsettled many, specially those in authority who saw them as rabble-rousers. But they were not afraid of conflict and confrontation, finding strength and consolation in the words of and their faith in Jesus. Mary, in contrast, led a quiet life. Tradition has it that she spent the rest of her life around Ephesus with the Beloved Disciple, to whom Jesus entrusted her at the crucifixion. I can imagine her living a simple and quiet life away from the ferment being caused by the other apostles in their preachings and proclamations. She must have touched people though through her examples, her prayers and the stories and memories she had of her son, Jesus.
In my younger days, I loved and sought conflict and confrontation. I loved to show others that they were wrong and I was right. Today, I have totally lost my appetite for conflict and confrontation. I prefer to life a simple and quiet life. Often, I would rather keep my peace than speak my mind in fear of hurting others. For I know my words can often be sharp and hurting. I would rather keep quiet than utter words that might hurt, even to the extent of suffering hurt myself in silence. I cannot be Peter or Paul anymore with their bold and challenging proclamations.
I would love to be like Mary – silent, simple, prayerful, working behind the scenes. A calming presence when storms are raging. A comfort in times of sorrow and pain. Keeping alive the message and life of Jesus through the stories she must have shared with the early Christian communities.
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16: 13-19