Friday, May. 29th 2020

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today's Mass Readings

 

[Jesus] said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)

Is Jesus being playful with Peter in this scene? One may wonder just what kind of playfulness it is when the result was that “Peter was distressed…” But then we recall the larger context: Peter had denied Jesus three times.

I am not implying something of a Divine vindictiveness here. But it would seem that there is a Divine education. And what does it say about Christ’s approach to us if that is the case? How does he educate us? I think that it says Christ looks into our hearts: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus looks not at our accomplishments, nor even our sins, but at our willingness to keep trying and not to be surprised that we are weak and sinful and sometimes little or paltry or downright selfish.

Our education by Christ does not mean that sin is ignored. Rather, he seeks to teach us something by it. It is in some way incorporated into our lives: our growth, our deepening, and our maturity as intimates of Christ. That is if our hearts are open to this process of wounded healing. We can be closed to it because of laziness, carelessness, indifference, stubborn attachments, or whatever. Or, we can be open to it. Julian of Norwich describes such openness. She sees sin as a scourge by which the Holy Spirit leads us to contrition and the sacrament of confession.

Every sinful soul must be healed by this medicine. God does not see the soul’s wounds as wounds but as honors. And as sin is punished, here with sorrow and penance, in contrary fashion it will be rewarded in heaven by the courteous love of our Lord God almighty, who does not wish anyone who comes there to lose her labors.

Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB

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