Persecution Stopped

Posted by

The WORD in other words by Fr Rodrigo Salac SVD – Davao City

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the Apostles – June 29

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The martyrdom of Peter and Paul marked the beginning of the end of the pagan (excuse the term used) Roman Empire. Although the systematic persecution of the Christians ordered by the emperors of Rome lasted for about 200 years, the Imperial wrath was no match to the patience and resilience of the Christians. The persecution killed thousands of Christians, but it inspired thousands more to convert to Christianity. Finally, during the reign of Emperor Constantine, the persecution stopped, and the Emperor worshippers became Christ believers.

There are some lessons learned from this:
1. Persecuting the Christians is persecuting Jesus, the God of the Christians.

The experience of Paul in Acts 9:1-5 converted him from being a persecutor to being persecuted.

Nobody wins a war against God. This is Israel’s experience in the Old Testament as well as the Christians in the New Testament and beyond.

2. Acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, is Peter’s unassailable expression of faith in our Gospel today. He became the foundation of the Church that could withstand the power of darkness. He inherited an authority that is acknowledged on earth, as well as in heaven.

3. Death has no absolute power over life. As the Christians took persecutions for breakfast, lunch, and supper, they died knowing that the end of their life on earth was the beginning of their eternal life with Jesus in heaven. They outlasted their persecution and in the end became victorious. God’s movement in history could not be counterflowed.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, we remember two extremely different personalities: Peter, the impulsive fisherman, and Paul, the enthusiastic Pharisee. Both were called by Jesus to proclaim his message to the ends of the earth. We share their calling, and we will do it in Jesus’ name.

One comment

Leave a Reply