FRIDAY, SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER / MEMORIAL OF SAINT PHILIP NERI
Acts 25: 13-21; Ps 103: 1-2,11-12,19-20; Jn 21: 15-19
A MEMBER, NOT NUMBER IN THE CHURCH
Paulo Coelho states, “God always offers us a second chance in life.” Yes! God indeed gives the second and even more chances. It is tough to forgive those who harm us. But the nature of Jesus is to love so that unforgiveness can’t withstand before his nature. We have two individuals in the gospels; both left out God’s will and did their own will. One denied Jesus and the other betrayed.
Peter went from the disgrace of denial to becoming the rock on which the church is built. “To reach something good, it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.” says St Teresa of Avila. Peter was well aware of Jesus’ nature and was sure that he would give him another chance. Judas did not understand the nature of Jesus. He was afraid of the punishment, so he missed the experience of God’s mercy.
It is said that immediately after his election, Pope Francis was asked, “Who is Jorge Bergoglio”? “Jorge is a sinner who has been called! I am called? I am called because I am loved! I am loved without conditions,” he replied. Jesus loves without condition. Peter sinned against him three times, denying him in public. In today’s gospel, Jesus confirms Peter’s love by asking three times “Do you love me?”
Jesus asks the same question ‘Do you love me?’ to us also, his disciples here on earth. He questions us not because we disappoint him. But he wants to know that we are not just a number, but a member of his flock. As a member, one would ask to oneself the questions which St. Ignatius suggested ‘What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do?’ We are called to be the parts of his mystical body the church. Are we living like members or numbers? Members know the mercy of God and come back after falling into sins. Numbers depart from him thinking that he will not forgive one’s sins.
Response: The Lord has fixed his throne in heaven.
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