Dear Sisters and Brothers! 29th of June is dedicated to some two men who also knew the Shepherd: St Peter and St Paul.
The Gospel of Matthew takes us to that charming place called Caesarea Philippi. However the reason is not the beauty of the place but the confession which was made there by Peter: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ The confession revealed not only who Jesus was but it also indicated that Peter’s life was to be orientated around the Lord Jesus. The confession didn’t turn Peter into some super saint. The man who was known previously as Simon was given a new name – Peter. However the new Peter still carried the strengths and weaknesses of the former Simon. What had changed was his life orientation. He viewed his strengths in light of Jesus’ humility and he viewed his weaknesses in light of Jesus’ mercy.
We know that the very next verses of the Gospel show Peter brought humble after his attempt to dictate Jesus what to do. Peter didn’t get offended. He didn’t left Jesus. He knew the Shepherd he was following. The Shepherd wanted the Divine life for Peter. Some time later Peter fell even worse. He denied Jesus three times. However at his lowest Peter discovered how true the words of his fellow Apostle Paul were: ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.’
Both of them, Peter and Paul, found the beauty and power of the parable of the lost sheep. At some stage they were the lost sheep, but they were not an abandoned sheep. The Lord came after them. Paul wrote about that to his collaborator Timothy: ‘The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear.’
Both Saint Apostles whom we venerate today didn’t have a crystal clear CV but their stained CV became the stage from which they were able to proclaim the great things the Lord did for them. Thus from their stained personal history they were able to say: ‘To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’