Saturday, April 09, 2016

3rd Sunday of Easter Year C - 2016

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts.

Sadly in 2015 there were 330 Mass Shootings in the United States and in these tragic events 367 people were killed and 1318 people were injured.

I believe that the tragedies like these  give us a glimpse of what
a world without Christ would look like.

It would be a world where people feel frightened, worthless, isolated.
It would be a world  where people are confused angry or sadly filled with rage.
A world with out Christ would be A world “out of control”
A world without Christ lacks justice, respect, or any real semblance of peace.
A world without Christ is a tragic world indeed.

As we remember the recent tragedies in San Bernardino or Brussels or Paris we see how even one person without Christ or a small group of people without Christ can make  the whole world cry.
Brothers and Sisters we are in the season of Easter
We have just celebrated with joy the resurrection of Christ.
There is no room for fear, or hate or isolation, or resentment in a world redeemed by our Jesus our Risen Lord…

In today’s Gospel, a post resurrection narrative,
there are three key components
  • the restoration of Peter
  • the command to feed and tend God’s flock
  • and the shadow of the cross.

We all know that Peter who was chosen by Jesus to lead the Church publicly denied Jesus three times.

On the night of Jesus’ trial, because he was afraid, Peter tried to convince the people standing around the fire that Jesus was never a part of his life.

He tried to convince them that his was a world without Christ.
Three times he denied him.
I don’t know him
I don’t know him
I tell you I don’t even know him,”

What sad words, fear has the power to make us do terrible things, and say terrible things indeed.

In Today’s Gospel Jesus doesn’t lecture Peter.
He doesn’t scold him or humiliate him.
Jesus simply asks him the same question three times

Once for each time of the times Peter denied him
Do you love me Peter - Feed My Sheep
Do you love me Peter - Tend my Sheep
Do you Love me Peter - Feed my Sheep

With those simple words Peter is forgiven, restored.
And he is forgiven publically so that there is not a shadow of a doubt where Peter stands with Jesus.

His forgiveness is complete.  
He is healed of his betrayal and Jesus refocuses Peter on his mission to shepherd God’s people.

Not only is he forgiven but Jesus reminds him that fulfilling God’s will, is going to cost him.
Jesus encourages Peter not to be consumed by fear when hefaces the cross

At the end of his life Peter was crucified… crucified upside down to be exact

But this time when Peter paid the final price of love there was no denial.
He was not afraid fear had no more power over him.

What does all of this have to do with us?

First of allAll of us like Peter need to be restored.
All of us like Peter need the forgiveness that only God can give.
All of us like Peter have denied Christ both by our words and by our actions.
And we haven’t done it just three times but over and over again all of us.

The secondly we also need to love and feed and tend God’s sheep, our brothers and sisters.

There is not a person alive now who doesn’t wish that someone could have reached into hearts all of the men and women who thought nothing of shooting innocent people.

We all wish that someone could have been able to pull them from their rage and isolation

How many chances were missed?
How many tries were made? What happened?
How did all of these people not come to know the error of their ways?
How did all of these shooters not understand the beauty and value of every human life. ?
We are all  needed to care for God's flock
When Jesus calls upon Peter to feed his sheep and tend his lambs
He calls upon us all to do the same

To reach out to the isolated
The awkward
The lonely
He called us all to be messengers of the power of love.

Finally today’s Gospel reminds us that love is never without cost
And that all of us will be called to pay the price of love

When Jesus reminds Peter that he will have to face the cross

Jesus reminds all of us that the same cross that awaited him will be shared in some way by anyone who loves,

Eveyrone who tries to heal,
Everyone all who build up and encourage, 
everyone who follows Christ, will have to face some kind of cross and Jesus begs us to face whatever cross we are given without fear.

Brothers and Sisters,
let us ponder all of these things in our hearts.

Let us live and love without fear and without counting the cost.
For world without Christ’s is a terrible world indeed.

And so Jesus asks us,

Do you love feed my sheep, tend my sheep


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