Let’s go back to Good Friday. Jesus has been captured by a band of soldiers, the tribune and the Jewish guards. Peter has run away and is approached by a maid who says to him; “you too were with Jesus the Galilean.” Denial #1: Peter said; “I do not know what you are talking about!” Then another girl said; “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Denial #2: Peter denied it with an oath; “I do not know the man!” Some bystanders said; “surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” Denial #3: Peter, cursing and swearing said; “I do not know the man.” “And immediately, the cock crowed.” Peter went out “and began to weep bitterly.”
I start today with Good Friday because today’s Gospel from John 21:1-19 shows us the great love and mercy Jesus has, not only for his disciples but for you and me. Remember, the disciples have fished all night, caught nothing and a stranger on the shore (Jesus) tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. They catch 153 large fish and after they recognize the Lord, Jesus cooks them breakfast. That’s a pretty good example of forgiveness of those who abandoned him during his passion and death. But I think the next part of the Gospel is truly amazing.
Jesus calls Peter aside and says; “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Repentance #1: Peter said; “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asks a second time; “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Repentance #2: Peter said; “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus says, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus asks a third time; “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Repentance #3: Peter said; “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus says; “Feed my sheep.”
Three denials and three acts of repentance. Jesus called this sinful man who denied him to be in charge of the apostles and to build his church by proclaiming the teachings of Jesus to the whole world. Jesus calls us also with his same love and mercy to do the same using the gifts we have been given. I focus maybe too much on the sinful person that I am but today’s Gospel passage is a ray of hope to me to never give up. Like Peter, when I sin I must repent and trust in the love and mercy of God. Amen, Alleluia!