“What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus.
“These five fingers,” says Lucy.
“Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”
“Which channel do you want?” asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
In unity there is strength. This weekend we celebrate the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul—two great pillars of our Catholic faith. Peter and Paul were quite different in their backgrounds, yet they were united in faith.
Who were Peter and Paul?
Both of them were Jewish, that is true. But Peter was a blue-collared fisherman, while Paul was a highly educated Pharisee.
Peter was called personally by Jesus, was made head of the apostles by Jesus, and given the keys of the kingdom.
Paul, on the other hand, probably never met Jesus face to face. He once was a persecutor of the Church. His conversion came about through a vision on the road to Damascus that left him blind. His inspiration and his style of presenting the gospel came from visions and charismatic experiences.
Sometimes, Peter and Paul did not see eye to eye. For instance, Paul once had a public disagreement with Peter on whether Jewish Christians could eat together with Gentile Christians. (Galatians 2).
However, if Peter and Paul did not agree in life, they did agree in death. Both suffered the same kind of death, martyrdom, in the same city, Rome, at about the same time, 64-67 A.D.
Two pillars of the Church
The early Church recognized Peter and Paul as the two pillars of the Church of Christ. This is depicted in an ancient icon with Peter on the right and Paul on the left, each extending a hand with which they bear up the Church.
By placing two of them together in one icon, united in lifting up the Church, the Church is sending a message to all her children that they likewise should be united, in spite of individual and local differences. We are all called to build up the one Church of God.
Peter and Paul were two different men, who had different ideas. But when it came to living their lives for Jesus Christ—they were united as one. They professed one Lord, one baptism, one faith. And in this unity, they provided the strong foundation of our church.
Strong in unity
Saints Peter and Paul exemplify to us that even if we are different and even if we have disagreements, we can still live and work together in the Church.
We can find reconciliation with one another through God’s grace and love.
Together we are better. Together, united in one faith, we are strong.