26 June 2006: Solemnity of
The Martyrdom of Peter and Paul
Saints Peter and Paul are true martyrs. They have offered their whole lives to God, and they have lived their commitment to God. I believe, what made Peter and Paul great is not so much their spectacular martyrdom. Their being martyrs began when they said yes to Jesus’ call. They have faced death every minute of their lives which only culminated in Peter’s martyrdom of dying upside down on the cross or Paul’s death of being beheaded by a sword. Let us explore their lives to understand what is also demanded of our faith. From
We must not deny or ignore the depth of our evil, for, paradoxically, our sinfulness becomes our bread. When in honesty we accept the evil that is in us as part of the truth about ourselves and offer that truth up to God, we are in a mysterious way nourished. Even the truth about our sinful side sets us free (John 8, 32).
There is, therefore, no need to repress, suppress, or sublimate any of God’s truth about ourselves. Full, total, unvarnished self-knowledge is the bread by which we are sustained. A yes to life means an honest recognition of our own evil, but it is also a yes to God, who in the midst of our evil sustains us and draws us into his righteousness.
Through faith, our self-knowledge leads us to a self-acceptance and a self-love that draw their life from God’s acceptance and love. God accepts the whole of us, and thus, there is reason for us to accept the whole of ourselves --- our goodness and our evil; our loves and our hates; our beautiful and the ugly sides, and even our gray areas.
One reason why we are afraid to commit ourselves totally is simply because we are afraid that we will not be able to fulfill our covenant, or our commitment with others. We may have made many commitments in the past that we were not able to fulfill--- perhaps a marriage or religious vow, or a promise to our children. Mga pangakong napapako. We have promised after an inspiring retreat, or a good confession, not to sin again. We have pledged our loyalty to God, but later on find ourselves not being able to fulfill it. As a result, we feel condemned in our hearts over these broken covenants. We feel that God condemns us ---- or more truthfully, we condemn ourselves. We feel bad about ourselves. We find ourselves unworthy of God’s love.
Remember St. Peter, who made promises that were too much for him (John 13:36-38). Remember