29 June—this Monday—is the Day of St Peter and St Paul. They are commemorated together because of their martyrdom in Rome during the Neronian persecution about 64CE. The two apostles also have their individual feast days (St Paul on 25 January; St Peter on 22 February). That means we could celebrate the patronal festival twice a year. Well, after the coronavirus experience we are not really in celebration mode. Still, we are thankful for all the goodness we have experienced at this time, not only individually, but also as a parish. In addition, we can be thankful for what God has done through this Parish throughout the years. There certainly have been challenges at different times, but also renewal and real impact on people’s lives.
I do not know why those first parishioners decided to associate this Parish with St Paul way back in 1853. Maybe it just had a respectable ring to it; maybe a few people had attended a St Paul’s Church back in England. Maybe there was also some consideration that the witness of St Paul would influence the Parish for years to come. In that case, we can be reminded again of the grace of God who sent Jesus, the Son of God, for our righteousness and our freedom. Paul lived the perplexing reality that true freedom was to live as a servant—the servant of Jesus Christ. As servants of Christ humans can become free from the apparent success of the world, which Paul realized only led to the enslavement of sin and the law.
In contrast to some movements in the Church, particularly in more recent centuries, Paul maintained that Jesus was not just a wise teacher. Rather, Paul confessed that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus had cosmic significance: Jesus is alive now and works through the Church and every believer.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20