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Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Blog Entry, News |

The Sunday Sermon: The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter & Paul

The Sunday Sermon: The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter & Paul

The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul – June 29, 2014

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 The two apostles whom we celebrate today are recognized as the builders of the Church. The foundation and cornerstone is, obviously, our Lord. It was he who came to found the Church, and it he who gave his life on the cross so that the Church could have life in him. Our lord told us that “there is no greater love than that someone should lay down their life for their friends.” And that’s what he did for you and for me, so that we might be part of what he came to build, which is nothing less than the Kingdom of God.

Peter and Paul laid down their lives, too, for the Church which they spent a good deal of their lives building up on the foundation of Christ their Lord.

The Question I’d like to think about today is simply this: “Why does the Church matter?” It’s a question that encompasses other questions, like, why is it important to be part of the Church or to Come to church? And, “What is the purpose of the Church?”

In order to approach those questions, let me start out with a question for all of us: “Do you ever wonder “what is the meaning of Life? Why am I here? What is my purpose?” Some of us have an answer to that line of questions, while some of us have probably never stopped to think about it.

Another way of looking at these questions is to ask “What is my part in the Story of the Universe?” Today, in the world as it is, we really need to ask another question “Does the universe have a story? A narrative? A meaning and purpose?”

If I were to ask you to write the story of your life, where would you begin? Who would you include? What events would be significant enough to include in your story?

Each of us can tell our own tale. We can relate in narrative form the history of our lives. We can recall important events in our lives with vivid detail. We can bring these moments into our hearts and minds in such a way that it seems they happened only yesterday.

We tell ourselves the story of our lives because that story is important to us – it’s important to us because it defines who we are, where we’ve come from and what things are important to us.

In knowing our life story, we become self aware. Yet, the story of my own life, though it gives me a sense of identity, as yours gives you your sense of identity, fails to give meaning to our lives, because it is a story in isolation. It’s a story about me, and it lacks any context, any connection to what is beyond ourselves.   The meaning of our own story only exists when our story is joined to a larger narrative of the world around us.

Think of a ship at sea. It can only navigate in a meaningful direction when the captain can see the bigger picture – the map of the world around him – and he has his bearings on that map – where is he located, what direction is he headed – how fast is he travelling. Without these, the ship is adrift – moving on the vast ocean without purpose or direction.

The same is true for you and for me. In order for us to have purpose and meaning and direction in our lives – our stories must have a set of bearings in order to travel in any meaningful direction.

In the world today, a great many people are like ships without bearings – adrift at sea- going in no direction. Their lives are without purpose or meaning. They can tell the story of their lives, the can talk about their experiences, the things they’ve seen, the people they’ve met, the adventures they’ve been on – but they cannot connect that story to anything beyond their own experiences: the can’t find meaning in all of it – and they are helpless – feeling empty and void of purpose, direction, and meaning.

The Remedy to this problem, of course, is our Christian Faith. Our faith understands that the story which connects our lives, the universe’s story which gives meaning and purpose to you and to me and to all of creation – is God’s Story of creation and redemption through the saving work of Christ.

You see, when we try to live our lives apart from that story – that narrative which God has revealed to us we live without meaning– and when we try to find meaning and purpose outside of that revelation, we fail.

Peter and Paul knew that story. They lived their lives as part of that story and they invited others to live that life with them in the Church which is the People of God. They thought it so true, infact, and so important, that they died defending that truth.

These two Apostles believed that the Church mattered because it was not their own story, but God’s Story – they believed that in and through the life of the Church that our own personal stories were united to God’s Story.

That’s why the believed the Church mattered. Not because Real life was what happened between Sunday morning Masses – on Monday through Saturday – but because life in the Church – From one Sunday through to eternity was what was truly real.

Do we believe that truth as strongly as Sts. Peter and Paul? Do you believe that real life and meaning and purpose are to be found in and through the Church which our Lord died to found.

Do you believe that in coming here, into the assembly of God’s people you and I are uniting our own personal stories to the larger story – indeed to the truth of reality itself? That’s what we’re supposed to do here every week – Unite ourselves to God and see ourselves as part of his Story of Love and Redemption in a sinful and broken world.

And the reason that we have things like bible studies, book studies, and Adult Education is so that we can grow in our understanding of that Story of God’s love for you and for me. So that we can go out and tell that story and enlarge the Kingdom of God and the Church to his Glory.

But how can we be part of that story if we don’t know it? How can we share it if we can’t explain it ourselves.

Today, on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul, I want to invite you deeper into the story of God’s love for you and for me. I want to invite you to join in the pilgrimage to a deeper commitment to God and his Church – because this is where you and I and the whole world find the true meaning of our lives.

This, I think, is why the Church matters. This is why Christ Came to found it, this is why Peter and Paul were also willing to die for it.

May we be given such faith.

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.