Sunday, April 22, 2007

Feed My Lambs

My children went fishing today. Just like Peter and the others in the Gospel today.

Okay - it wasn't just like the Gospel. After all, my children weren't in a boat - they were on the banks of the creek. They didn't have nets - but poles equipped with hot dogs for bait. (Hey, it's worked in the past.)

Just like Peter and the others - they didn't catch anything.

Unlike Peter and the others, Jesus did not appear to them and help them out in this matter.

I like this Gospel because it is the one where Jesus gives Peter a chance to redeem himself for his denials on Good Thursday/Holy Friday.

Peter didn't need to earn forgiveness. He was already forgiven. He was forgiven before Christ even died. And he didn't need to learn to feel proper remorse. He was completely sorry for what he had done - from the moment he realized what he had indeed done. What he needed was a chance to prove to Jesus (for his own sake, not Jesus' sake) that he could be trusted; that he didn't mean those horrible denials.

Jesus gives him that chance. Three times he asks Peter "Do you love me?"

And three times Peter answers "Yes, you know I do."

Three times. One for each of the times Peter denied his Lord.

And the Lord gives him a commission. "Feed My Lambs." "Tend My Sheep." "Feed My Sheep."

And Peter does this. He doesn't go back to being a fisherman (as he apparently had given thought to - hence the fishing expedition) instead he continues the work that Jesus called him to three years before. He will be a fisher of men, and tend the sheep.

The flock he's asked to tend are us - everyone. And the great thing is - that we can all share in Peter's job. We can all feed the lambs, tend the sheep. We can do it in big and small ways. We can do it everyday. Every time we act with love toward someone else, we are doing what Jesus asked of Peter.

It was an important assignment. Peter didn't take it lightly. Neither should we.

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