In today’s Gospel proclamation we see the Lord Jesus encountering the Apostles on the banks of the Lake Tiberius. The apostles exhausted, discouraged, and confused have returned to what is familiar – fishing. How many times do we do the same thing? When conflicts and crises arise we return to old habits and pursuits, trying to find familiarity in unfamiliar territory.
Here we see the Lord Jesus, the good shepherd going looking for the apostles. He does not give up on them. He meets them where they are, accepting them and providing for their immediate need. The Lord Jesus goes further by taking St Peter aside and questioning him three times. He knows St. Peter’s broken heart and his questions echo the three times St. Peter denied Christ. It can be hard to forgive but even harder to accept forgiveness. How hard it must have been for St. Peter to stand before the Lord. But the Lord Jesus does not admonish him for his betrayals, he does not focus on his failure, rather he focuses on St. Peter’s capacity to love, and gives him his mission – ‘be a good shepherd, like me. I know you are weak, but I know you love me. I trust you to be a good shepherd, ready to give his life for his lambs and sheep.’ Faced with such complete acceptance and forgiveness St. Peter becomes a new creation: a fisherman turned shepherd.
This is the St. Peter we encounter in our first reading, gone is the man who feared death and denied the Lord Jesus. Here is the rock on which the church was built. St. Peter understands intimately the truth of God’s love and his plan of salvation, and fearlessly stands his ground before the powerful leaders of the Council. Having experienced the full measure of forgiveness of the Lord, he now bears witness, indeed rejoices in the fact that he suffers for the sake of the Gospel.
The second reading reveals to us the eternal reality that to the Lamb who was slain, belongs all glory. And the whole universe, the heavens and earth bow down to his majesty. We may have run away from God in our hearts, maybe we find it difficult to look beyond our present crisis or accept forgiveness for our short comings. But this Easter season let us see, the mighty Risen Lord, the one who is infinitely capable of taking care of our every need. Let us see him as he stands on the shores of our lives calling out to us. As he gently ministers to us, let us open ourselves to his love and mercy allowing him to transform us into a new creation.
Prayer: Abba Father, may I be transformed by your love and acceptance. Help me to accept myself and see myself as your precious child. Amen.