June 29th is the feast day of two of the most important saints in the Catholic Church: St. Peter and St. Paul. I am sure we all know that St. Peter was the first Pope in the Church appointed by none other than Christ Himself. And St. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who didn’t yet know Christ. These two pillars of the Catholic Church faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ in order that the Catholic Church, throughout her history, would remain faithful to Christ.
While St. Peter and St. Paul were successful in their mission, they were the first martyrs who died for their faith. One day after their feast day, we celebrate the feast day of the First Martyrs of Rome who also remained faithful to Christ and His teachings as they gave up their lives in order to not violate Christ’s teachings and their own consciences.
There is a price to pay to following Christ today, just as it was true in Christ’s own time – “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (Mt 16: 24).”
Being a faithful Christian is like swimming upstream against the tide of present day culture. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prophetically said, “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” Remember the story of St. Peter and Apostles continuing to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ even at the risk of losing their lives? When the council of religious authorities questioned and chastised St. Peter and the apostles, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name.” St. Peter’s reply was, “We must obey God rather than human authority.” It was the well-respected religious authority Gamaliel who rightly pointed out that previous insurrections failed because they were of human origin and that they should just leave these men “alone because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found against God! (Acts 5:39)”
We have our opinions, but God has His ways.
The Catholic Church survived the Roman Empire, the Barbarian and Moor invasions, Communism and Modernism. We will be victorious as long as we remain faithful!