We are All Saints Responding to the Call

Sts. Peter and Paul

Acts 12: 1-11; 2 Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18; Mt. 16: 13-19

Deacon Larry Brockman

Two saints,  today we hear about two saints who are the founding Fathers of the Church,  zealous and fearless in their efforts to evangelize all men, and spread the faith.  They were two very different people.  But both heard the call and responded.   

Take Peter; he was just an ordinary kind of guy.  He was not learned in his faith at all.  He was a fisherman by trade, who responded to the call despite his weaknesses and several setbacks.  He was awed by Jesus, and seemed to just have a sense of His divinity.  And yet, he still denied Him three times.  He was afraid to go out and spread the Gospel, because he sensed that the authorities would do the same to him that they did to Jesus.  Yet as the story today shows, he was miraculously rescued from that fate, and he went on to become a zealous evangelizer.

And then there is Paul, a Roman Citizen from a well to do family, and  a Pharisee well versed in his faith as a Jew.  He persecuted the Christians with zeal, and was responsible for putting many to death.  But then, something happened to him.  He was struck down by an angel and had visions of Jesus himself.  He received a personal revelation of the Gospel, as we heard today and went on to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.   

Both of these men were sinners, but they repented.  Both of these men heard the call and went on to do God’s will for them.  They looked forward, not backward at their failings and mistakes.  Both of these men are examples for all of us about what it means to live the life that God intends for us.   

Now I know what some of you are thinking.  “Sure, but it was easy for them.  After all, Jesus was there personally for them, or he sent an angel to give them awake up call, or to work miracles for them.  But it is not that way for me-  no angels, no personal relationship with Jesus, no miracles, no clear message on what He wants me to do.”  But that is wrong on all counts when you think about it.   

Over twenty years ago, in my previous life as an engineer, two of us were sent to San Francisco on business.  We were given a rental care that had an experimental navigation system in it.  Now these things are common today, but it was really novel then.  We marveled at the polite, pleasant sounding female voice that gave us our directions.  And then it struck us.  What would the voice say if we went astray- took a wrong turn?  What about multiple wrong turns?  And so, we tried it- we deliberately took some wrong turns.  And the lady politely and cheerfully told us what to do each time to get us back on course.  We were disappointed in a sense- expecting a more realistic:  “Why can’t you listen to directions, you idiot”.  But there was never any hint of that.  The machine was relentless in its program to always guide you on the right course.  The system never looked back, always forward.   

Well, it is the same way with God.  God is talking to each one of us daily, hourly, even by the moment; continuously prompting us to take the right course.  His voice may seem weaker than other voices in our world.  But he is always there.  And sometimes, His voice is very loud- almost like the things that happened to Peter and Paul.  Life changing events like a death, an illness, graduation, marriage, divorce, someone asking for help, a chance encounter with another- all of these things can give pause. All of these things can heighten our awareness of God’s little voice in our life, either because we ask for His help, or the event has such an impact on our lives that time almost stands still and we hear God’s voice and prompt.  Always, God is there to prompt us for the future, how to get back on course. 

And then there is the matter of miracles.  Notice that the Church was praying for Peter, the account in Acts tells us that.  So prayer can work wonders, even miracles.  But when you really think about the lives of people who respond to the call, life is full of miracles for them.  I am thinking of people like Mother Theresa; but I am also thinking of people closer to home.  Some of my brother deacons are good examples. God has touched their lives and has worked wonders for them they didn’t think was possible.  I think about all the things our Respect Life Ministry and our Men’s Club and Knights of Columbus have done over the years.  Each of the people who contribute to these efforts is responding to God’s will, and great things happen because of that.  Not least among the miracles is the Perpetual Adoration Chapel- and how it has helped define and sustain this parish.   

In a few moments, all of us will be able to receive Holy Communion.  Last week we pondered the meaning of the Eucharist on the feast of Corpus Christi.  It should be clear that each of us can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Because each of us has direct access to Jesus each and every time we receive Communion.  Know that he will be there waiting for you, and ready to prompt you in the right direction if you listen. 

So, we have no excuse.   We can have a personal relationship with Jesus; He is talking to us all the time; and if we listen to him, he will work miracles through us.   

Today, as with Peter and the disciples in the Gospel.  Jesus is asking each one of us if we know who he is.  Jesus is calling each one of us as he did Peter.  What is your answer? 


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