“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Ps 18/19: 4, Communion-Verse on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul)
Today, when our Older-Calendar churches celebrate the great feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, we refer this Psalm-verse to the “voice” and “words” of the Holy Apostles, the fallible but faith-inspired human beings, who famously endured certain ups and downs, on their cross-carrying journeys. While they themselves were limited, and did not physically travel “into all the earth,” nor “to the ends of the world,” their unified “voice” and salvific “words” have continuously spread, passed on from generation to generation “to the ends of the world,” by way of “Tradition.” And this “Tradition” (from the Latin “tradere,” meaning “to pass on” or “deliver”) continues to be “passed on” by differently-fallible human beings, and in different ways; by word-of-mouth, by the written word, by faith-inspired music and other forms of human-divine creativity, and by holy images, either the painted kind or the living-and-breathing kind, in the “living icons” who are fallible but faith-inspired human beings. They witness to the Way preached by the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the Way of the Cross, through their everyday lives, in their ups and downs, and also in their deaths.
So as we celebrate the Holy Apostles today, who endured certain well-known ups and downs, as recorded in the New Testament Scriptures, we also celebrate the “apostolic” Church, as she endures and witnesses to Christ to this very day, through all of us, even through the “messy” reality that is our cross-carrying journey. In our globalized world, and in the “fish bowl” that we all inhabit in the age of social media, in which our ups and downs are more-than-ever exposed for all to see “to the ends of the world,” let me let Christ navigate the sometimes-“messy” waters of my own little fish-bowl, that all of my “mess” may witness to His redemptive mercy and guidance. Holy Apostles, pray to God for us!