Daily Reflection for Friday, April 22 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 4:1-12
Responsorial: Psalms 118:1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27a
Gospel: Luke 21:1-14
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.” John 21:7
When Peter denied Jesus three times, he really denied Jesus. The first denial was simply “I don’t know what you are talking about”. Next, he denied Jesus with an oath. And finally, he denied Jesus with cursing and swearing. But what happens next begins to reveal the substance of the man on whom Jesus would build his church…he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69). Shame can be destructive, sometimes leaving people in a state of perpetual self-loathing. But Pope Francis says shame can also be a true Christian virtue that helps prepare us for God's forgiveness.
During the events in today’s gospel, I’m sure Peter is still feeling tremendous shame about his denials. However, he is also crazy in love with Jesus. That love is so evident when he jumps into the sea, wanting to get to Jesus as soon as he can. But Peter has also been humbled. A few weeks prior, Jesus went to wash Peter’s feet, and the opinionated disciple said he would never allow Jesus to be his servant (John13:8). Now Jesus is cooking and serving him breakfast, and a more subdued Peter quietly receives whatever Jesus has for him.
After breakfast, Jesus confronts Peter about his denials in the gentlest way imaginable. He asks him three times whether he loves him. Exasperated, Peter says “you know all things, you know that I love you”. Then Jesus tells Peter that his love will one day be so great that he will give his life (John 21:15). Peter’s shame for his sin opened a pathway to receive God’s forgiveness and helped initiate a deeper and more fearless love of Jesus.
In contrast to Peter, the commandment-following rich young man in the gospels did not seem to be well acquainted with shame. Jesus loved him and invited him to give up everything, but he just walked away…sad but not ashamed (Matthew 19:22). The one who is forgiven little, loves little (Luke 7:47).
We need to be like Peter. We need to look unflinchingly at our sins and acknowledge our fault. We need to allow ourselves to be loved by him. We need to accept his forgiveness. We need to allow him to feed us. And we need to allow ourselves to fall crazily, fearlessly, jumping-in-the-water, in love with Jesus. That is a love worth dying for.
Grace and Peace to you,