Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul Acts 12:1-11; P salm 87:1–3, 5–7; 2 Timothy 4:6–8, 17–18; John 21:15–19 How many of you have heard of Balm of Gilead? Did you know that you can make it? It’s a kind of salve made from olive oil combined with the resin of a certain tree’s buds. Guess what tree is used to make Balm of Gilead? Cottonwoods. The frustrating trees that make us sneeze, which blow their fluff around in the summertime, which we consider little better than weeds. The buds of the cottonwood tree can be steeped with oil to make an antiseptic and healing balm. From such a frustrating tree comes a magnificent medicine. In the Bible, the land of Gilead is where the family of Gad (one of Jacob’s twelve sons) had settled. They traded in spices and balms. By the time of the prophet Jeremiah, however, most of the children of Israel were struggling and had lost sight of God’s own role in their healing. Jeremiah wrote, “Is there no balm in Gilead?