Friday, May 22, 2015

'No one is as good and merciful as the Lord. But even He does not forgive the unrepentant.'

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – St Matthew

Gospel Text: (JN 21:15-19)
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Simon Peter was so enthusiastic and loyal to Jesus at his arrest that he cut off the right ear of the high priest's servant.  However, before maid servants Peter denied him three times. This was the same Peter who had insisted, "Though I have to die with you, I will never deny you." (Mk 14: 31)

Christ asks Peter three times if he loves him: three times, not to be assured of Peter's love but rather to remind Peter of his weakness and betrayal of Jesus.  Christ gave Peter, the weak one who denied him, the leadership of his Church. Christ trusted Peter despite his weakness because Peter knew how to repent.  Peter knew himself very well, that he was a sinner.

If we are to follow Christ, we must first abandon “our” way of thinking. Oftentimes the will of God may be against our own will.  But inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can choose to follow him and allow God to lead us to where he wills.

Peter the coward was chosen by the Lord to become the first leader of the Church and to die with loyalty and faith. If God can give this privilege to Peter, he can certainly give this gift to anyone.

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