"A third time Jesus asked him, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' " —John 21:17
How mercifully and graciously (Ex 34:6) Jesus treated Peter by the lakeshore! Consider the mercy of Jesus:
- Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus allowed Peter to undo each denial with three professions of love (Jn 21:15-17).
- Peter denied Jesus by a charcoal fire (Jn 18:18ff). Jesus recreated the scene of denial with another charcoal fire (Jn 21:9), bringing healing to Peter's deepest feelings of shame.
- Jesus could have forgiven Peter privately. However, He chose to restore Peter in front of the disciples, giving Peter renewed credibility and authority in their eyes.
- Jesus once told Peter that if he knew his Master's wishes but did not prepare to fulfill them, he would be severely punished (Lk 12:47). Yet Jesus showered Peter with mercy (Jn 21:6) and hospitality (Jn 21:13) rather than punishment when Peter turned his back on his Master's call.
- Jesus once again placed His trust in Peter to feed His lambs. He could have chosen another apostle to replace Peter. Would a modern corporation give another chance to a CEO who had failed in the manner Peter did?
Jesus' love covered a multitude of Peter's sins (1 Pt 4:8). As we approach Pentecost, let us ask Jesus to pour out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit He sends to us (Rm 5:5).
Prayer: Holy Spirit, produce in us the fruit of love (Gal 5:22). May we constantly feed Your lambs with the Scriptures.
Promise: "As the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him." —Ps 103:11
Praise: Our Lady of Fatima appeared in Portugal in 1917 to three poor children. She prophesied peace to the world if her requests for prayer, reparation, and consecration were heeded.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2004
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