Itchy & Scratchy! ... Apostles?
Some of you may know the cat and mouse cartoon within the Simpsons show. Simpsons creators offer social commentary about violence on television through this cartoon-within-the-cartoon. It's like Tom and Jerry ... out of control.
Anyway... I know this is probably a sign that I need help, but I cracked myself up this morning listening to the first reading at Mass from the Letter to the Galatians (2:1-2, 7-14). In this selection, St. Paul makes no bones about the fact that he challenged St. Peter to his face because he was wrong. We often see Sts. Peter and Paul depicted together, the Princes of the Apostles, kindred souls, etc. But today provided us another aspect of the relationship.
Of course, I don't think Peter and Paul were truly having a knock down, drag out fight ala Itchy and Scratchy, but it was a disagreement which eventually had to be addressed by the whole Church of the time, at the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15). But in all seriousness, once I was done laughing inside, I realized that this unique view into Peter and Paul's relationship actually reveals a true friendship. You see, the best of friends is one who challenges you, who holds you to accountability. Paul did this for Peter. Your true best friend will do the same for you and if you are truly a friend, you will help another be accountable.
The next time you are sitting on the porch in a moment of peace with a dear friend, raise a glass of lemonade and reflect together on how important it is for true friends to challenge each other to be better, to reach higher, to go further...