Saint Jerome points out an important fact about today’s Gospel. Judas, one of the twelve, was also granted the power to work miracles in Jesus’ name. We don’t know if he actually performed any miracles, but it is quite probable that he did. He was probably just as involved in the ministry of healing and deliverance as the other eleven chosen and sent by Jesus. This serves to rectify an important misconception about miracle-workers: their ability to work miracles is neither the evidence of their moral rectitude nor the reason we should listen to what they have to say. If some have the gift of healing and others do not, it is not a way to measure holiness. Special gifts are not a reflection of a special love by God for an individual, or some kind of reward system. They are given by God for the service and edification of the Church – if we use them well as good stewards we will be honored, if we squander them selfishly we will enter the kingdom of heaven and the talent will be taken away from us. But Judas’ greatest failure was not his betrayal of Jesus, it was his despair. St. Peter denied Jesus even after His teaching, “Whoever denies me before men, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” St. Peter did not lose hope and in his heart sought reconciliation and a greater humility to cooperate with God’s grace.
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Saints Peter and Paul are the two greatest pillars of the Church. Their lives are very different, and this helps us understand from a divine perspective how it takes all kinds – not only of people but also of leaders – to build up the Church. The message of Christ appeals way beyond any narrow segment of humanity, culture, or way of life. We need leaders that lead in very different ways. Let us meditate on the lives of Saints Peter and Paul to grasp how their different styles of leadership bore witness to the Gospel.