Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Chains Fell From His Wrists

The Chains Fell From His Wrists

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles- Mass during the Day 

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.  Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell.  He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.”  The chains fell from his wrists.  Acts 12:6-7

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  2 Tim 4:17

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  Matthew 16:15-18 


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr


Accepting hardship and punishment was part of the price of leadership and Peter and Paul both experienced trials in the world in the course of following the Lord.  As the “rocks” upon which the Church is built, the lives of these two patrons is filled with the weakness of their humanity before they are blessed with the revelation of the Lord. 

They had to pass through these tests and accept their frailty before they were able to fulfill their ultimate mission in the Church on earth and unlock the gates of heaven.


What are you doing to build the Church?

Peter had to overcome himself and the world to be the first Pope.  Peter may have been as unlikely a choice for the first pope as Cardinal Bergoglio was to be the current Pope.  According to an article in America magazine, Pope Francis’ story would not have made a believable novel.  Yet as he passes the first hundred days of his Papacy, Francis has inspired many in the world with his life, his story and how he is working to change the Church and the Vatican by being a pastor who preaches in word and deed.

What are you doing to build the Church in word and deed during these challenging times? How are you going beyond your own personal limitations (the chains on your wrists) to lay another brick in the construction of the Kingdom today?

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