How often have we heard sermons about the Lord asking Peter, “Do you love me”? I’ve heard the explanations … Jesus denied the Lord three times and Jesus asks Peter to reaffirm his love for the Lord three times.
Well today, I heard another perspective from Bishop Barron. He said, “We are all St. Peter: sinners who are nevertheless in love with the Lord. We are eager to encounter him and yet we are ashamed of our failures. Come ashore ! Allow him to forgive you, and (you) reaffirm your love for him.” (Magnificat, May 1, 2022)
This is not an optional step for you and me. If we don’t take this step, we will remain “stuck in the mud.” If we don’t receive the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins and reaffirm our love for him, then we can tend live in the shame and disappointment of our past failures. Often we need to go deeper that what can happen in one occurrences…or two occurrences…needing three or maybe even more.
As I was praying and pondering the other day, I felt that maybe I have completed all that God has for me to do. Maybe I have moved to the “past tense” section of life…. nothing more for me to do. I’ve finished my mission and am just hanging out until the “Big Bus In The Sky” shows up. I’m just waiting to get my final report card…which I’m somewhat nervous about. I’m thinking a C+ would not be too bad…the same grade I “eked out” on my major in Chemistry from college…hey I passed but nothing to write home about… no awards.
Now, I know in my head that the mercy of the Lord is what I’m counting on to boost that grade up to an A+++. I know that the Lord took that final exam for me and scored a 100% . I know that the Lord loves me and has saved me and is not disappointed in me…yet, at times I can be “ashamed of my failures”. After all he has done for me, giving all for my salvation… and too often I have responded in a lukewarm manner or worse.
Well, I need to follow Bishop Barron’s advice. ”I am a sinner who is nevertheless in love with the Lord; I need to allow him to forgive me, and reaffirm my love for him.” I do love the Lord, despite being a sinner. Jesus, I do love you. I do love you. I do love you. And out of the love we share, I will feed your sheep. I will share your love with those around me. I will feed your sheep with patience and kindness, not in a rude or arrogant way or boastful way.
Let’s not focus on our self and our failures and shame. Let’s focus on the great love and affection the Lord has for us. He knows us and has paid the price for our salvation on the cross. He’s not disappointed in us…he loves us. And we do love the Lord, not perfectly… but we do love the Lord. He has promised to finish the job in us. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
“So, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”(Heb. 12:1) And all will be well with our soul.