Archive for April 24th, 2019

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Almighty God,by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ,  You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory;through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.

READINGS: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19   Psalm 61    Colossians 3:1-7 or 1 Corinthians 11:23-26    St. John 21:1-14

When the risen Lord visits the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, just as He said He would, Simon Peter and four fellow disciples are fishing, doing what they knew how to do.  When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord from the beloved disciple, he put on his outer garment, for he was “stripped for work”, and out of the boat, he threw himself into the sea.

The Greek word for “stripped” is “gymnos”. Gymnos means naked. In ancient times, one competed in athletics naked. Peter was undressed, because he was working hard.  He was probably hot and sweaty. Once again, Jesus caused a miraculous catch of fish and because Peter is naked, he puts on “his outer garment”,  jumps into “the sea” to go to the Lord. He must have been quite soggy. 

Like Adam, like all mankind, Peter clothed himself because of his nakedness before the living God.  Peter had denied Him three times. Baptism is the reverse of this:  water is poured, or the catechumen is immersed into the water three times to wash away our sin in God’s most precious Word:  His Name.  When immersed, in the first centuries of the Church,  one went naked into the Baptismal waters  and then  a white garment was “put on”, signifying emerging clothed in Christ.  Peter putting on his outer garment to come to the Lord can remind us of the  many places Scripture we are to put on our Baptism, the new self in Christ.  The Greek verb is the same for each translation of it as “put on”: 

  1. Romans 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
  2. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
  5. Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
  6. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  7. Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
  8. Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
  9. Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
  10. Colossians 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
  11. Colossians 3:14  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

IN  the verses above we are variously told also to put on the armor of light, put on love, compassionate hearts, etc,  and in the Day of Resurrection we will be clothed in our “heavenly dwelling”.  I will go out on  limb here and say that the armor of light, the whole armor of God, putting on “love”, are all references to Baptism, and putting on Christ.  We are encouraged to put on what we have been given:  our Baptism into Christ. 

Peter and the disciples, sit on the sea shore and Jesus feeds them.  In the next scene, He charges Peter to feed His sheep.  The Lord feeds us Himself, His flesh and blood for the life of the world.  Baptism is followed by Holy Communion.  We can not go naked to the Lord and He clothed us in Himself as He clothed Adam and Eve in the Garden. We are not dressed for success, but for faithfulness. 

The verb “revealed” is used in the first and last verse of this Gospel lesson. The disciples are awed that Jesus arrives in Galilee.  Revelation, or manifestation, epiphany is the mark of the end of world  that has come upon us.  When we put on our daily Baptism, the new self, we are dressed for and in the end of the world who is Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Reread the texts above for a description of our Christening robe and how different it is from the styles of the world.   We do not go out naked into the world or showing enough to sexually entice someone else. The Lord clothes us the shame of the Adamic nakedness as the Lord once clothed Adam and Eve (Genesis 3: 21).  Adam and Eve’s garments were just for this life. Clothed in Christ is His life for the new heavens and earth. And in the meantime, the Church will be different from the world as she is clothed in Christ and His armor of  light and love.  

O Lord Jesus Christ, look upon me, a poor sinner, with Your eyes of mercy, the same eyes of mercy with which You looked upon Peter in the assembly-room, upon Mary Magdalene at the banquet, and upon the malefactor on the cross. Grant to me also, almighty God, that with Peter I bemoan my sin from the heart, with Mary Magdalene sincerely love You, and with the malefactor on the cross may live eternally with You in Your kingdom. Amen. (Johann Gerhard)

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