Today as we celebrate the feast of St Peter and St Paul (Apostles) Fr Prodencio Bognay reads from the Gospel of Matthew (16: 13-19) in which Jesus asks his disciples ‘Who do you say I am?.
Fr Prodencio says that St Peter was instrumental in becoming the agent of unity or the symbolic head of the early Christian church in Jerusalem. It would have been difficult to be in his shoes during those times when only the highly educated people were considered credible when it came to religious and spiritual matters.
Despite his simple background as ordinary fisherman, St Peter was able to lead the early Christian believers amidst their highly educated Jewish religious leaders.
St. Paul on the other hand, was instrumental in bringing the Christian faith to Rome.
As far as the Jewish understanding of the world was concerned during the time of Jesus and during the early years of Christianity, Rome was the end of the world.
St Paul then symbolically fulfilled the command of Jesus to his disciples when he commissioned them to go and preach the good news to the end of the world.
As Fr Prodencio thinks of these two pillars of our Christian faith, he sees in them two different ways by which we can encounter Christ:
Given his ordinary background, St. Peter symbolizes the encounter with Christ through wisdom in spirituality.
In his background as a highly educated pharisee, St. Paul symbolizes the encounter with Christ through knowledge in religion.
Fr Prodencio prays ‘May our celebration of these two pillars of our faith lead us to have real encounter with Christ’.