LEADING PEOPLE CLOSER TO CHRIST

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Fr. Kachy

Homily Rerun: May 5, 2019  Fr. Kachy

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 THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – YEAR C
1St Reading: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; 2nd Reading: Rev. 5:11-14; Gospel: Jn. 21:1-19 or 21:1-14

 

During Easter the Sunday and weekday gospel readings are taken from St John’s gospel; this is the time of year when the Church invites us to meditate on this gospel. St John is always very deep; traditionally his gospel is known as “the spiritual gospel”; these weeks should therefore be a time for us to
deepen our spirituality through the meditation of John’s Gospel.


The Gospel today brings us back to the appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection. The tone in Peter’s words in today’s Gospel, “I am going fishing”, seems to be a response to the confusion and frustration with the way events were unfolding after the crucifixion of Jesus. It is clear that the disciples are slowly falling into the temptation of going back to their former business – fishing. Frustrations and disbelief can easily draw us back to our former ways of life. Probably the Lord saw it as a dangerous gesture and so surprised them with his appearance right on spot.


Jesus invited Peter to repent of his three denials by confessing his love for the Lord three times. Three times
Peter had denied Jesus by a charcoal fire on Holy Thursday evening but now three times by a different charcoal fire at the sea shore Jesus asks Peter to look after the sheep. He forgave Peter and had confidence in him to make him Pope. We see that despite our sinfulness Jesus forgives us and has confidence in us.
Jesus does not lock us in by our past or present mistakes. We are given room to outgrow the mistakes of the past. Paul wrote, “For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.” (1 Cor 5:17)


What happened to Peter can happen to us also if we have the faith to accept God’s love and forgiveness. Jesus forgives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and loves us after we have denied him, after we have disbelieved, after we have given up, after we have sinned. It takes an act of faith to believe in God, and it takes an act of faith to believe that God forgives us and loves us after we repent of our sin.

Sometimes faith is the courage to accept God’s love, the courage to accept God’s forgiveness and
acceptance of ourselves. Peter recovered his faith after his despair; he was able to say “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” We do not allow the past to overcome us like Judas. Instead Peter is our model for
repentance and reforming ourselves and allowing the Lord to put us to work for him again.


Like us, these early followers of Jesus both believe and have doubts at the same time. The challenge for us today is to continue to believe that Jesus is present in his Church. In so many ways it is easier to live at the level of doubt and to reject the Church. It is an enormous challenge to see the presence of Jesus Christ at work in His Church, bringing holiness and love to our world.


The act of Jesus to forgive and affirm Peter as the head of his Church reminds us that love and forgiveness are the weapons for reconciliation and for restoration of trust and unity in our families. Separation and
divorce are not the remedies to family challenges. If Jesus could forgive and trust Peter we too can sort out our misunderstanding, forgive one another and trust one another again. There is always room for change.


Easter season is a moment of witness to the Paschal Mystery. We join the Apostles in proclaiming that Jesus is really alive and is among us. We do so by word and deed; by being active like the Apostles doing the same that Jesus did. It will be a great contradiction if we confess our faith in the risen Christ and at the same time live a life of the old man. Both can never go together. Let the celebration of Easter deepen our faith in the risen Christ who is always with us, calling us and inspiring us to lead a life of resurrection, characterized by joy, peace and compassion.