Galatians 2:9 speaks of three pillars of the Church, “James, Cephas and John.” They were the inner three apostles.
For St. James we can see that his halo was tipped. Under the stress of Jesus’ announced death, he fell apart and did something foolish, asking for honors and power, but when Jesus said, «The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,» James listened. He went on and watched the Lord die. He joined with the others behind closed doors, gripped by grief, not knowing where to turn. Then he heard the good news, «Jesus is alive. He has risen just like he said he would.» James gained heart and overcame his selfish tendencies and died the death of a martyr, the first apostle to die for Christ. His head was cut off by the sword of the Roman state.1
Considering Peter, he said, “Man I do not know what you are talking about.” At that moment, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed; and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter…and Peter went outside and wept.
A spiritual writer reflected on that and said, “I related well with the Lord. I would converse with him, thank him, and ask for help.
But always I had this uneasy feeling that he wanted me to look at him…And I would not. I would talk, but look away when I sensed he was looking at me. I was afraid I should find an accusation in his eyes of some unrepented sin. Or a demand: something he wanted from me.
One day I summoned up courage and looked! There was no accusation. No demand. The eyes just said, “I love you.”
And, like Peter, I went outside and wept.”2
1 Timothy 3:15 says the pillar and foundation of truth is the Church! Surprise! The Pillar of truth is not a pillar with the Bible on Top; it is the Church.
Pillars Stand for Something!
Lastly, let’s consider Andrew, the apostle.
A parishioner said that his older brother was a very wealthy man and had purchased for him a new car for his birthday. It was a beautiful blue Lexus with all the extras. A few days later, the man came down from his office to get his new car and found a young boy, obviously a child of the streets, looking it over. “Mister, is that your car?” The man replied that it was. “How much did it cost?” “Why, it didn’t cost me a thing,” said the man. “My older brother gave it to me.” “You mean,” said the boy, “your brother gave it to you and it didn’t cost you nothing?!” “That’s right,” said the man. “My brother gave it to me and it didn’t cost me anything.” “Wow,” said the boy. “I wish…” And the man said he knew what the boy was going to wish. He was going to wish he had a brother who would give him a car like that. But that isn’t what the boy said. What he said was this: “I wish…I wish I could be a brother like that!”
In the gospel according to Luke we read:
Simon Peter’s brother introduced him to Jesus. Wouldn’t you like to have a brother or sister like that? 3
Proverbs 9:1 states that wisdom «builds her house upon pillars.»
One person cannot do it all—it takes more than one pillar to support a building. The Family of God has been called to help and support each other. During these end time, we must learn to help the world by serving one another.
1. Ron Lavin, St. Jim, Your Halo Is Tipped
2. The Song of the Bird, Anthony de Mello
3. Donald B. Strobe, The Saint Who Played Second Fiddle