The Fisherman and the Pharisee

St. Peter and Paul

Today, we celebrate the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul, beloved patrons of The St. Paul Center. The feast of these two great saints highlights the partnership that God providentially willed during the first century between two of the most unlikely of candidates. The fisherman Peter and the pharisee Saul, who would later become Paul, are two men with very different temperaments and backgrounds.

Peter, who in the Scriptures frequently opens his mouth only to stick his foot in it, was chosen to become the first pope. A surprising choice considering he may have been looked upon as a weak link among the apostles until he is imparted with wisdom by the Holy Spirit. Paul was a pharisee, a strict observer of the Jewish law. In fact, Paul used his knowledge of Sacred Scripture to work against the early Church. He vehemently persecuted Christians until his conversion experience on the road to Damascus when he is blinded by a light from Heaven and falls from his horse. The Lord cries out to him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute Me?” It is at that moment that he realizes he is not just persecuting Christians but Christ Himself. The Lord identifies Himself so closely with His own disciples that He describes them as members of His own mystical body. Notably, Paul is the only New Testament writer to refer to the church as the body of Christ. All its members are indeed the arms, legs, eyes, and ears of the body of Christ.

While some may act as if there was a rivalry between Peter and Paul, this is simply not so. Peter and Paul's writings do not compete with each other. In fact, they work together. There is not only a spiritual but a fraternal bond that ties the two principles evangelizers of the first century together. In 2 Peter 3:15 we read, "And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him." Peter likens Paul's message to Sacred Scripture and acknowledges that his words are from God. It is in reading the writings of both Peter and Paul that they fully express to us the wisdom and love of Christ. Today, we celebrate their feast day as a great family joy.

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Ep. 4.2 The Brotherhood of Sts. Peter and Paul

Dr. Scott Hahn discusses the connection, respect, and brotherhood of these two powerhouse saints of the first century. Many picture them in disagreement and look to their opposition as a cause of the Protestant break-away, but as Dr. Hahn points out, this is the farthest thing from the truth! Otherwise, why would they SHARE a feast day??