June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Love for the Lord

… Jesus …asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Mt 16,13-19

By the end of 1975, when we moved from Legnano to Saronno, we met Oliviero Gulot, a person who, after having been almost an atheist, found the faith and lived in a totally addictive manner. He was used to carry the Bible in the bag and during the day, from time to time, to pull it out, to read a few verses, like a traveler takes a sip of water, and to put it back inside. Oliviero talked about the Lord in a new way, uncommon for a person who was not a priest. Soon we began to pray together and after a couple of months we organized a prayer group, of charismatic style, attended by a dozen people. We met a couple of times a week, we prayed, sang and meditated on the Holy Scriptures. Because when we met him, Oliviero had been recently widowed, we often invited him for a dinner and, during the meal, it happened that the conversation was moving towards the desire we had to live our life together, if not in community. However, we never have been able to agree on how to succeed. At a some day in time, when our talks were more heated than usual, Oliviero said: “Pierluigi, only the Lord could have made two people like us gathering together!”. It was true, we were fully different, but we totally agree on the desire to live a life dedicated to the Lord. A couple of years later Oliviero met Francesca, also a widow, they married, they moved to another city and since then, meeting from time to time, we continued our journey of faith in different contexts. However, his exclamation on our differences, even though we were animated by the same faith in the Lord, always comes to my mind in this day of the liturgical year, when we celebrate the feast of the saints Peter and Paul. These two pillars of the christianity had in common only the love in the Lord, for the remaining aspects they were different in everything: in the temper, in the culture and, above all, in the missionary strategies. Peter was oriented to the evangelization of the Jewish world, meanwhile Paul of the pagan world. At a certain day in Jerusalem they also clashed and Peter had to accept the missionary ideas of Paul because he realized that they were more enlightened. The conclusion, though remaining still different, was that they gathered together in Rome, where they both died as martyrs for the Lord.

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