Third Sunday of Easter
This Weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of Easter it seems strange that we have come so far from the ashes of Ash Wednesday right through to Jesus resurrection at Easter. In the resurrection We celebrate the one who affirms for us that God has walked on our streets, confronted the evil we confront and suffered died and rose again for us. Jesus resurrection assures us that life can come out of death and good can overcome evil and it does. It doesn’t always seem that way these days when we see the suffering of the people around the world but for people who have faith in God nothing is impossible. After a tragedy like Sri Lanka or whatever there is a strong response of self-sacrifice and compassion from everyone to help the victims and those affected by the violence. Then with the passage of time we go back to where we were before the crisis, preoccupied by our concerns and yet through all of this bad stuff God is with us.
After the earth shattering events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday Peter and the others were ready to put the events of those days behind them and return home to what they did before they came across Jesus. But Jesus won’t let them go and by association he won’t let us go either. In our Gospel Story for this Sunday he comes to the shore looking for them. He gets their attention, as he did when he first called them, with a large catch of fish. He prepares breakfast for them and invites them to eat, “Come, and have breakfast.” After the meal Jesus asks Peter three times about the reality of his love. Insisting on love is something of a mark with Jesus. Three times Peter affirms his love, as three times Jesus insists on it. And when Peter professes his love Jesus commissions him to care for his flock when he says feed my sheep. And that is what Peter does – as we hear in Sunday’s first reading. In his ministry of preaching and healing Peter gets through to many people, and the authorities become nervous at the ability of Peter and the apostles to work in the name of Jesus.
In spite of the opposition Peter will continue insisting on his love for Jesus and this insistence will take him to martyrdom in Rome. No matter whether the believer is new or old, a pew sitter or a leader of people, the call of Christ is the same: “Follow me.” Following Christ means life in the community of faith where we are. Are we, like Peter, spreading the net for new believers and professing a true love for our Savior? Or are we on the sidelines watching others doing the work when we should really be out there doing the work with them? At the end of the day whatever happens we remember that God is with us and wants us to be with him now and in the future, He is with us in good and bad times so let us take courage this Eastertime to go forward in faith.