June 28/July 12, 2022
Greetings and Blessed Feast of the most holy apostles and evangelists Ss. Peter and Paul! I write this from the most unexpected of places. I sit on a large couch in an air bnb in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s North American commonwealth was good enough to receive our temporarily displaced family for a few days and nights when our connecting flight to San Francisco was cancelled. We were originally planning to use Canada for a brief layover to keep down the cost of traveling with a family of seven. Trouble started when this discount travel service bumped our connecting flight to two days later! Suddenly last night, Canada’s strict COVID protocols came falling down upon us and we were left scrambling last minute to find local transportation, accommodation, and a way to explain our unplanned presence in another country.
But such is the more permanent plight of 89.3 million people worldwide. Think of Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine and the record immigration flooding our southern borders in America. What our family endured by a slightly prolonged questioning and conditional entry was so minor compared to what these beleaguered, homeless families endure daily. In fact, a family arrived to Canada beside us from Ukraine seeking some shelter from the storm of war in their homeland.
Today’s feast features two men who know about this life on the run. Neither for vacation or for necessity did the holy apostles travel but from an irrepressible hunger to make the Gospel known to the world. And they let nothing in this world or beyond this world prevent them from this mission. This morning’s epistle is one of the finest epic descriptions of any hero from any land or culture:
Are they ministers of Christ?-I speak as a fool-I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one… in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness… Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.II Corinthians 11:21-12:9
I was glad at the end of the night that the Canadian government did not just grant us easy entrance into their country. It was good for our family to feel solidarity with the Ukrainian family whose prospects must be far less promising than ours. For the holy apostles teach us not to get too comfortable in this world, for our true life lies not here but in the world to come. Holy Apostles, pray to God for us!