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Archive for April 7th, 2021

Yes, Lord, You Know That I Love You”| National Catholic Register

COLLECT OF THE DAY

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

Reflection on the Gospel LessonJohn 21: 1-14:  Here are  some of the many narratives involving Peter:  

  • After Jesus walked on the water, Peter almost commanded the Lord in Peter’s disbelief: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14)
  • Peter denied Jesus three times (all four of the Gospels).
  • The risen Lord asked Peter 3 times, Do you love me more than these? 3 times the Lord said, “Feed My sheep”(John 21)
  • Peter does not want to go to the Gentile Centurion, Cornelius’ home because Peter would eat unclean animals.  3 times a sheet is lowered with unclean and clean animals.

I asked a Bible class: how would you characterize Peter?  “Impetuous” “Acts before thinking” “Trusts himself”   Not exactly the meaning of the name Jesus gave Simon:  Peter, meaning in Greek “rock”. There is this reflection from Johann Gerhard:

“We should also contemplate how Peter came to such a fall (i.e. his denial), in order that we avoid the same. He was entirely too daring (presumptuous)–meaning that it all depended upon a good heart and good intentions. When he noticed others who were not like him in this matter, he held them in disdain. Thus, he experienced how very little we are capable of if God does not sustain us. Therefore, we should indeed not rely on the strength of our own faith, or on our good intentions. God’s power does it, and it alone must do everything.”

I know I am more like Peter when he saw the waves and the Rock sank.  He was a good guy, but even our goodness, apart from God, also needs Christ’s redemption, His Body and Blood, His forgiveness every step of the Way. It is my good heart and good intentions that can wreak the greatest damage in congregations, families and nations because one does such on the goodness of “me”.  At the extreme, every tyrant, political or spiritual, want to do good.

I find it interesting the repetition of “three” to convict and convince Peter:  three times Jesus saying feed my sheep.  Three times the sheet of animals in the vision were let down to convince Peter to go to a Gentile’s home and dine there so Cornelius and his household could be saved by faith!  It took a lot to change his mind which means:  The Lord appropriately renamed Simon, “Rock”.  Peter was steadfast.  He was stalwart in his faith and actions, even when they were misguided, but even that wrong way can be changed by the Lord. We all by fallen nature tend to look inward and not outward to our Lord. As Peter we all have good qualities that the Lord through our living has formed in us and then comes to redeem those qualities for faith and love in Jesus Christ. Even our best qualities are not saving, if they were, we would not need a Savior.

After Peter denied Jesus three times, the arrested Jesus simply looked at Peter and he wept bitterly.  Peter finally knew his good heart was not enough, his decisions for Jesus did not bridge the gap between himself and the Lord, Peter the Rock could be not steadfast.  Only the Lord’s hand, His Word saved him…again and again and again!  You as well. The Lord is our salvation.

Back in Luke 5 and the miraculous catch of fish, when the boat begins to sink because of the haul of fish, Peter jumps into water and falls before the Lord, “Depart from me O Lord for I am a sinful man.” First, note that Jesus did not answer Peter’s prayer in the affirmative!  Peter would discover the depths of his sin and the greater depths of the forgiveness and mercy  in Jesus, the heart of His Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.  After the resurrection, Peter would forget this, but the Lord brought Him back to Himself in true repentance.  And in this scene from John 21, Peter once more throws himself into the depths, impetuously, impulsively, because he loved the Lord, for by His love  Peter, you, me and everyone we meet has been redeemed. Peter was a rock.  Now may His Word open their hearts to their Redeemer and  by faith be saved knowing the depths of His truth and grace for sinners and also for me and for thee as well day by day.  We pray…

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, O You, 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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