Sunday, April 10, 2016

“If there is to be reconciliation, first there must be truth.”

Gospel Text: (JN 21:1-19)
At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus 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.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus 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, son of John, do you love me?” If you consider the way that the evangelist refers to this same person, you notice that after the answer is given, John refers to him simply as “Peter”. We know that the name Peter means “rock”, and that it is upon this rock that Jesus built His Church. Nonetheless, until Peter repented publicly three times, in order to make up for his three-fold public denial of Jesus in the courtyard after Jesus’ arrest, Peter could not serve as the person Jesus wanted him to be.

Only by assuring Jesus that he loved Him could he accept the name “Peter”, and so accept the call to be the leader of the Church after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. And so, in Jesus accepting Peter’s repentance, He also gives Peter a new command: “Feed my sheep.” Peter was not only to be “rock-solid”, so to speak, in preaching the Gospel. Peter was also to tend to the entire flock of those who follow Jesus: everyone, throughout the world, who professes to be a Christian.

This reconciliation between Jesus and Peter had to take place before Jesus could ascend to Heaven. Without the Rock of Peter to rely upon, the Church could not begin its mission at Pentecost. Pray for Pope Francis as the successor of Saint Peter. Pray for all Christians, that they may accept the gift of the papacy, and the man who serves in our world as Peter, as gifts from Jesus to help draw all of us into deeper union with each other and with God.

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