3rd Sunday of Easter Reflection
I am going fishing. Peter, called away from your fishing boats to become a fisher of men; how quickly you forget.
Peter, first among the followers of Jesus and first among equals, you were called to turn back and to strengthen and encourage the brethren; how quickly you forget.
Peter, you were given the greatest commandment, a new commandment, to Love one another, to Love one another as I have Loved you and by this Love you will be known as my disciples; how quickly you forget.
Jesus rebuked enemies, strangers and close friends, but the greatest rebuke was for you Peter, the first among equals and commissioned to be the foundation of the church of Christ. Now once more you meet the risen Jesus waiting for you with a prepared a meal.
Yes Peter, you have left the brethren, you have left the community, and you have left the assembly to go fishing. Here is Jesus waiting for you, to teach you, to reprove you and to remind you in a way that you will now never forget.
No longer are you were addressed as Peter, the rock of the church, but as Simon son of John; what a stinging rebuke. Three times this rebuke is repeated to mirror Peter’s forgetfulness of the commandment of Love, a Love that must replicate Jesus own Love, a Love that must give of itself completely and Love that lays down its own life for the other; Peter how quickly you forget.
Do you understand the cost of being my disciple; to keep nothing of yourself for yourself…to pour yourself out like a sacrifice for the sake of the other…this is agape Love…this is the cost of discipleship.
Twice Simon son of John offers his filial Love, the Love between brothers and sisters. This is not enough to be the disciple of Jesus, to be the foundation rock of the church.
But at last Simon son of John understands what true discipleship costs; and then Jesus says to Peter, “Follow me”.
Jesus teaches us the way to Love, the way to admonish and reprove and also the way to encourage. This is the way that we are also called to follow.
All too often though we also, like Peter forget the way shown by Jesus the Christ. This is the new way that we have been given by Jesus the Christ, a way that is totally non-violent, communal and loving. As Richard Rohr has reminded us, we too have forgotten and established a religion that is often devoid of every aspect of Jesus teaching. ‘One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one’s “personal Lord and saviour”… The world has no time for such silliness any more. The suffering on earth is too great.’
All too often we too like Peter forget and want to go or fishing, to wash our hands of the whole sorry mess. Jesus called Peter back, back to the brethren, back to the community, back to the assembly. Jesus also calls us in the same way; the way of separation, exclusion and forgetfulness is not the way of Jesus.
Each one of us, no matter what our status, is the church, is a part of the body and is subject to rebuke and correction; no one can be excluded for all have sinned and fall short of the commandment of Love. Let our rebuke and correction be transparent, equal but always with compassion and the same mercy that God has shown to us. Let us together as church forego all rank and privilege, forego or pride and deceit. Let us call each other back to the way through that light of Christ that shines out through each of our brokenness.