The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, celebrated on June 29, somehow reminds us that God’s power can sit well amid the many weaknesses of men. It shows us the very character of that divine power, full of love, goodness and mercy, that despite man’s foibles, God will always have his way.
We know very well how these two saints were. Peter denied Christ three times. And Paul was a rabid persecutor of the early Christians before his conversion. And yet, God chose them to be pillars and leaders of the Church, somehow lending credence to what St. Paul once said: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor 1,27)
And St. Paul continues: “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (28-29) With these words, we are made to understand that any power or authority on earth should be seen as coming from God and not from us.
We can never fully understand God’s will and ways. All we have to do is simply say, ‘Amen’ or ‘Fiat’ (Be it done), like what Our Lady and all the saints did, imitating Christ himself who said: “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 5,30)
We have to realize that what is impossible with us is always possible with God. As a saying goes, God can write straight with crooked lines. We should just reconcile ourselves with this incredible reality and learn to trust our human leaders, warts and all, as long as they are properly vested with authority, like through a general election. We refer here not only to our Church leaders but also to our civil leaders.
Let’s remember that as St. Paul said in his Letter to the Romans, we just have to obey our leaders and help them in any way we can. “Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.” (13,1)
Let’s hope that we know how to follow this clear indication from St. Paul that clearly channels God’s will in this aspect of our earthly life, and avoid unnecessary divisiveness that can only undermine the general stability of our society and even the personal spiritual life of many individuals. It’s clear that our unwillingness to follow this indication do all of us a great harm.
It’s true that we will always have differences and conflicts. That’s a given fact of life. We just have to learn how to handle them properly by referring them always to God, so that instead of becoming elements of division, they can generate a deeper understanding of ourselves and of the issues involved, and more importantly, a higher degree of charity that can lead to a more meaningful unity among ourselves.
In a sense, while we have to be serious with our human affairs, we should avoid being overly serious such that our unavoidable differences and conflicts would lead us to the ways of hatred and violence, if not war. Again, a certain spirit of sportsmanship is called for here.
In this regard, let’s not rely totally on our human ideologies and philosophies that often lead us to be divisive. Let’s be inspired more and always by God’s power and charity.*