In today’s Gospel, Peter and the others are asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Now, both Peter and Paul were committed to the truth about who Christ was. They had too much at stake to let that go. They had both messed up their estimation of who Jesus was: Peter was expecting a Messiah with earthly exaltation who would never undergo something like crucifixion, and Paul (then called Saul) had early on estimated Jesus to be a rabble-rouser and charlatan. They both, of course, underwent conversion through the mercy of Jesus, but they forever remembered the trap of underestimating Jesus. So for them Jesus could never be just a brother, friend or role model – that was inadequate. And both of them proclaimed with all of their life straight through to their death that Jesus Christ is Lord. We too on this day must repent of the mediocrity we sometimes settle for in our relationship with Christ. He has to be Lord of our lives and we must proclaim him to be that Lord to our dying breath. We must never break faith with Saints Peter and Paul, who preserved that faith at considerable personal cost.
Perhaps Saints Peter and Paul can inspire our own apostolic zeal. Then, as we bear witness to the fact that Jesus is Lord of our lives and of all the earth, we can bring a world that has accepted mediocrity and convenience to real relevance. Perhaps in our renewed apostolic zeal we can bring justice to the oppressed, right judgment to the wayward, love to the forgotten and the lonely, truth to a society that settles for relativism, and faith to a world that has lost sight of anything worth believing in. One might say that all of that is the Church’s mission, but that assumes the Church is primary, when actually the mission is what is of primary importance. And so we believe that the apostolic mission has a Church, and it’s time for the Church to be released from its chains and burst forth to give witness in the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.