May 18, 2018

I feel like I keep repeating myself today…it started with the date – 5-18-18.  Jesus, too, repeats Himself today in our Gospel.  Peter do you love me?  Peter do you love me?  Peter do you love me?  This Gospel always brings a wry little smile when I hear it proclaimed because it states that PETER grew distressed to state his love for Jesus a third time.  I’m thinking, you abandoned Christ at the time He needed you most!  How you can you be distressed that your are being asked “Peter, do you love me?”.  I know that isn’t the point of the Gospel, but it has always struck me as an odd reaction to something you’ve got to know was wrong.

What is the point of the Gospel?  I think it has a couple of underlying themes.  First, you can deny Christ all you want but His love for you will never waiver.  Because of that love, Christ will always take you back.  Be prepared to answer the question – Sir/Ma’am – do you love Me?  Second, be prepared to check your wants and desires at the door – your service to God – feeding the lambs, tending and feeding the sheep – will be decided by none other than God.  Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;  but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  This will not be an easy decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly but nevertheless it is the right(eous) decision.  It was for Peter, it is for me and it is for you.  We have to tell Jesus we love Him.  We have to give our lives over to Him.  And we have to be prepared to accept what He needs us to do to bring many to the faith.

Need an example of someone who spent his life denying Christ, got knocked off his _ _ _ and came to the reality of who and what Christ is…one who truly answered the question “Do you love Me?”  One who then spent 10 years of his life preparing for a mission that led to his death.  Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?  After persecuting many Christians for believing in the Resurrection, Paul finally said yes  – Jesus I love You – and then was willing to do whatever God needed in order to bring the message of the Gospel, the message of LIFE – to the world.  We have been reading (for a number of days) about the works Paul did for the Lord and today’s reading from the Acts and today’s reading from the Gospel are beautiful accounts of one man, the Man, being totally honest about what one can expect when they give their to life to God and not to the world. He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”  And we have another man, Paul, willingly accepting this charge from Christ, willing to accept death in this world in order to glorify God and receive his eternal award in God’s kingdom.  From today’s 1st reading:

His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor’s decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

Paul is on trial for proclaiming that Christ rose from the dead.  What is it that we need to proclaim to this world?  Are you willing to proclaim it?  Are you willing to face the consequences that can come from proclaiming the Gospel?  Are you willing to die for that proclamation.  If you need some reassurance, look at today’s Psalm…

R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven, 
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.

Again, let me say be not afraid.  Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Jesus, I trust in you.

Now go and feed His sheep.

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