THE SERVANT GENERAL
HOLY WARRIORS - 5
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
2 Timothy 4:6-18
Peter and Paul. Apostles. One among the original 12, the other
by special direct appointment by Jesus. One a fisherman, the
other a persecutor of Christians. Both holy warriors.
and Paul were zealous and passionate evangelizers and missionaries.
They suffered much. But who does not suffer in war? That is,
if you are an authentic warrior actually in the battlefield
(not in the Country Club).
is a powerful enemy, Satan himself. But there are also lots
of enemies within. For Paul there was Demas, who was co-opted
by the world and who abandoned him (2 Tm 4:10). Then there
was Alexander the coppersmith, who “strongly resisted
(his) preaching” (2 Tm 4:15b) and who did him “a
great deal of harm” (2 Tm 4:14a). Probably (or surely)
badmouthed, lied about and slandered him. Then there were
those who deserted him (2 Tm 4:16). Happens all the time in
the Church and in Christian community.
God protects and saves His holy warriors. “The angel
of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he saves
them.” (Ps 34:8). Remember the angel who struck down
185,000 Assyrians? God has many more of those angels!! And
so if we trust in God and cling to Him, then we need not be
afraid, even in the face of overwhelming odds. “I sought
the Lord, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears.”
(Ps 34:5). Just make sure it is He you seek, and not just
rely on earthly or human strength or resources.
warriors will not be shamed by the enemy in battle, even when
they are beaten up, bloodied and seemingly defeated. “Look
to him and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame.”
(Ps 34:6). We will always stand tall, even as we might be
cut down, with the banners of our Lord and our Lady held high.
warriors can always turn to God, to Jesus who is their Commander-in-Chief,
to the Spirit who is their strength and power. Even in our
nothingness, God will come to our aid when we cry out. “This
poor one cried out and the Lord heard, and from all his distress
he saved him.” (Ps 34:7).
was the experience of Peter. King Herod arrested and imprisoned
Peter, under heavy guard, secured by double chains (Acts 12:3-4a,6).
But with fervent intercession (very important!) by the Church
(Acts 12:5), “suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by
him .... the chains fell from his wrists” (Acts 12:7),
they passed the guards and the iron gate opened by itself
(Acts 12:10a)! Peter thought he was dreaming, “not realizing
that what was happening through the angel was real”
(Acts 12:9). Only when Peter recovered his senses did he realize
what had happened. “Now I know for certain that the
Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod”
(Acts 12:11). There again is the angel of the Lord!
also had lots of experiences of protection and deliverance,
in the face of great challenges, oppression and suffering.
“But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength”
(2 Tm 4:17a). He was confident in God, he trusted in God,
and so he was able to give God his all. He knew who he was,
and as a holy warrior, he disdained suffering as he embraced
the cross, knowing what awaited him in the end, even as that
meant martyrdom. “The Lord will rescue me from every
evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tm 4:18).
As a holy warrior, do you believe?
enemy is a roaring lion looking for souls to devour, including
ours. Paul says, “And I was rescued from the lion’s
mouth.” (2 Tm 4:17b). In fact, Jesus said to Peter,
and thus to the Church (Peter is our first pope), and thus
to all holy warriors (the Catholic Church is missionary):
“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.” (Mt 16:18).
let us get this straight. Holy warriors, listen. This last
passage is taken by many to mean that the enemy cannot prevail
in his attacks against the Church. Indeed Christ and his Church
are already victorious, and in the end the enemy is utterly
defeated for all eternity. But it is a wrong interpretation
to say that the enemy is attacking the Church but will not
prevail (again that is a truth but that is not the interpretation).
Gates are for defense, not for offense. And so in this passage,
it is the enemy being attacked, not the other way
around. The enemy is in defensive mode, but its gates will
not stand. The walls, and the gates, of Jericho will fall.
then is doing the attacking? The Church and her holy warriors.
Hallelujah! Unfortunately, our Church is today not in attack
mode, and she is not even in defensive mode. Too many Catholics
are just comfortable, complacent, too busy in maintenance
mode (but still losing Catholics by the day), unknowing of
the raging spiritual war in the heavens, fighting among themselves,
unmindful of the call to holiness, and even being the enemy
within. So we are losing by default!
warriors, what are your orders? It is the same as Peter and
Paul. It is the reason why the Spirit of God empowers you.
As Paul says, “the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed and
all the Gentiles might hear it.” (2 Tm 4:17a-b). Your
mission, if you choose to accept it, is to proclaim the gospel
to the whole world!
you say at the end of time, in front of our Commander-in-Chief:
“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have
kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7)? If you can, then you get
your reward. No, not a Medal of Honor, though you certainly
will be honored by all the angels and saints. You get much
better than that. “From now on the crown of righteousness
awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me
on that day” (2 Tm 4:8a).
you a holy warrior? Then “taste and see that the Lord
is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.”