How the Apostles Peter and Paul have changed the world forever

Do you remember a riddle for children: who is stronger – an elephant or an ant? It seems that the answer is obvious, because there is a big difference between them. However, an ant can lift several times its own weight, while an elephant cannot do this.

Today the Church commemorates two completely different people. One of them was a Roman citizen, who had a high status in Judea. He was young; he had no family and was the cleverest man of his people. We was about to take the place of the archpriest. Many people were jealous that he had such a high position and was rich.

The other one was the exact opposite of the former. He was in his age, and had a family (he lived with his mother-in-law). He was a poor and illiterate fisherman. He had never been anywhere but in his native village, as well as he had no prospects in his life. The former, who had never seen Christ when He was on earth, was the initiator of the persecutions on Christians. An activist, as they are called nowadays. However, during one of such persecutions he met Resurrected Christ, after which he became one of His best disciples. The latter was the closest disciple of Christ, who was always with Him and saw everything with his own eyes, but rejected that acquaintance three times a night. So which one of them is “stronger”?

The thing is that no one is stronger. They are absolutely equal apostles – Peter and Paul. This is why I love my faith: everyone is equal before God. The slogan of the persecutors of Christianity – “"Liberty, equality, fraternity" – is fully realized in the Church. Everyone has the same start. If we want to succeed in something among people, we need to have special abilities or opportunities: to be rich and strong, to be clever or to have a good ear. Otherwise, nothing will work out, no matter how hard we try. Even if the circumstances are favorable, not everyone manages to succeed. For example, there can be only one winning team in a football championship. However, to become a successful Christian you need nothing more but your own wish. You just need to wish this and you certainly will succeed.

Those two men with different abilities wished to change the world – and they did that.  Even if there were people who changed the world map, after their death the map was still changed many times. St. Peter and St. Paul have changed the world with their preaching about Christ, and they continue doing this even now. People build churches in their honor and baptize children with their names. People read and quote their epistles, while some of them ever ascribe their words to themselves, just like Vladimir Lenin did: “Who does not work, does not eat” (“If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians, 3:10)).

I often hear people saying "the life is over", “we did not learn that”, “I cannot do this”, “I will fail” and so on. Do not despair! You will manage to do anything if you wish. Apostle Peter was quite old; he could not write or read, and what is more, once he was fainthearted. Nevertheless, he did manage to do everything. And so will you. You are not worse.

And one more thing concerning equal opportunities:

…Once a man died and appeared in Heaven. He looks at what is around and sees that all the people there are absolutely happy and kind. All the rest is just like in the previous life. So he says to Apostle Peter:
- Can I see what hell looks like? I just want to have a quick look.
- Well then, come with me and I will show you.
They come to hell. The man sees that at first glance, everything looks there just like in Heaven. But people there are different, as they are angry and offended. It seems they feel bad there. The man asks the Apostle:
- Everything is just like in Heaven there. But why then the inmates of hell are so unhappy?
- Because they think all the time that in Heaven it is better.

By Hegumen Herman (Skrypnik)
June 21, 2017
St. Elisabeth Convent