Sunday, June 28, 2020

First Vespers of Saints Peter & Paul

Perhaps Peter and Paul whom we celebrate today would not mind if we noted that neither of them has much to be proud of. Peter who even as his best friend is being slapped and sentenced insisted to a serving girl in the glow of a charcoal fire that he did not even know who that man was; and self-righteous Paul who became notorious for dragging the first followers of Jesus from their homes to prison and persecution. 

Both Peter and Paul find themselves discovered by the Mercy of God in Christ Jesus, who identifies himself as the betrayed one, the persecuted one. Peter is forgiven by Christ at a breakfast on the shore after the resurrection; Paul thrown from his horse finds himself discovered by the mercy of Jesus who begs him, "Why are you persecuting me?" They will be empowered by mercy and compassion and forgiveness they receive from Jesus. We celebrate two men desperately in need of transformation, a transformation that happens in their encounters with their most merciful betrayed and persecuted Lord.