Monday, June 30, 2014


Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
Yesterday, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles. These two men, along with the rest of the first apostles, helped to spread the Church from Jerusalem to Rome, Greece and the rest of the surrounding area. While Jesus started Christianity, it was Peter, Paul, the rest of the first apostles and the grace of the Holy Spirit that took it to the rest of the world.

Their stories are AMAZING. Broken, fallen, sinful, average men, they were transformed almost immediately by their encounters with Jesus. Jesus changes Peter's first name upon their first meeting. He knocks Paul off of his horse, blinding him with light (Paul's name is changed, too!). Peter is given the keys to the kingdom; Paul becomes a soldier for Christ. Together, and along with the early Church, they carry out the first mission:

Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mk. 16: 15 - 18). 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
The Acts of the Apostles contains stories of incredible feats as the early Church fights to establish itself here on earth. People join the faith by the thousands. The disciples face persecution, get thrown in jail (multiple times), and in some cases killed; yet, the disciples continue to spread the Good News of the Gospel. The Church proclaimed one of these such stories at the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, recounts the story of Peter getting arrested by King Herod. James, one of the sons of Zebedee and John's brother, has just been killed. After seeing that this pleases the people of the city, Herod calls for Peter as well and has him imprisoned under the care of four squads of guards (16 in total). Herod's intent: bring Peter before the crowds at Passover (similar to Jesus) and have hime put to death.

Peter is doubled chained. He sleeps between two soldiers, while 14 guards keep watch on the prison from the outside. Then, and angel of God comes to Peter and leads him, safely, past the guards, out of the prison and free from this persecution.


Yet, the most AMAZING line from the passage (Acts: 12: 1- 11) is verse five:

Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.

The Church, on Peter's behalf, was praying fervently. To do something fervently means to do it passionately. The word's origins detail the level of intensity required - boiling, hot, burning, glowing. The Church fervently prays to God on Peter's behalf and then an angel of the Lord comes to set him free.

Prayer is powerful but especially when it is done with our full hearts and when it is done in communion with others. Speak His name. Authentically and genuinely ask for His help. Allow Him into your life. Follow Him.

He will change your name. He will transform you from the inside out. He will break every chain. An army is rising up. He will answer your prayers. He will set you free.