Discovering our role in life is always important. Some are called to be husbands and fathers, others women religious and prophets, still others leaders and community organizers. More important to remember, these roles shift, change and are sometimes turned upside down, and the measure of our character is our ability to understand and eventually accept these role changes.
The challenge to change roles was important in the lives of both Paul and Peter. Peter was married, perhaps a father, and had a role in his society, even a prominent one, as a fisherman. Fishermen like Peter had to be savvy businessmen and multilingual if they wanted to compete with Greek speakers who would also have been fishing in the Sea of Galilee. They had also to be able to negotiate contracts about taxes with their Roman masters. Leaving all of this security to follow Jesus was difficult. Only someone who spoke with power could have convinced Peter to let go of everything he had worked for and treasured.
Paul, on the other hand, was a respected rabbi and teacher, especially among prominent Jews. When he was willing, after Jesus' death, to challenge Christians who appeared to reject the Torah and the authority of the rabbis, his reputation for fearlessness grew. Again, like Peter, only the power of Jesus to reach him in his blindness moved Paul to let go of his reputation among leading Jews and in his own words pour out his life "like a libation" for the sake of the Gospel.
Together today in the liturgical calendar, we hold these two men up as examples. Unless we are willing to listen with our hearts to the saving promise of Jesus we will be unable to accept the transformation to which Jesus calls us.
Today, examine the roots of your faith.
What kinds of experiences have helped you enter the mysteries of faith more deeply?