Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional Thoughts on Second Sunday after the New Sunday

by Fr. George T, Ireland

Devotional Thoughts for the Gospel Reading on Second Sunday after the New Sunday-St John 21: 15-19.

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings to you in the blessed name of the Resurrected Christ! Indeed, Christ is risen! We are right now in the period of Easter. During this blessed period, we celebrate our Church's fundamental faith : the Resurrection of Christ. It is the time the risen Christ spent with his disciples, strengthening their faith, nurturing them and teaching them about the Kingdom of God, in fact preparing them for the mission ahead as fishers of men (souls).

This Sunday's Gospel is about Jesus appearing to His disciples at the shore of Tiberias. Jesus is the human face of God for us- the frail human beings- limited by sensory perceptions and here we see God's shepherding activity, seeking one of His lost sheep. There is a remarkable exchange of words with St Peter. What might have been the purpose of Christ's special conversation with St Peter? Did St Peter enjoy any special privileges with Jesus?

On the basis of the biblical verses Mathew 16:18 -19, -"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church" there has arisen a belief that St Peter is the true rock on which the Church is built. However, Christ who was just and dispassionate would naturally treat everyone equal. (St. Mathew 19: 28; St Luke 22: 28-30). It was the faith professed by St Peter that was to be the foundation of the Church whereby the key of the kingdom of heaven was entrusted to him. But true to his wavering nature as Simon, shortly he rejects Jesus thrice. (Mathew 26:31-35)).

However, the guilt of having denied his master at the crucial moment must really have hurt the impulsive and impetuous saint, who began to repent. It is said that St. Peter made his repentance and penitence by hitting his head against the rocky walls of his house and by weeping like anything which resulted in shedding his tears mixed with blood. The ever forgiving and all embracing love of Christ drew Himself to the repentant Peter after the resurrection. Here Jesus is the true shepherd in search of the lost Peter. It was to restore and to reinstate the lost position of Peter amongst the disciples, that these questions were raised. Against the thrice denial by St Peter, Christ asked him the same question- "Do you love me"? - three times. It was asked to make explicit the obligation of the disciple to be with Christ at all moments and also his true call as the shepherd of His flock and as a fisher of men. (St. Mark3:13-15, St. Mathew 4:19) .This role, Jesus shows by His questions, can come into fruition only through Love of God above all else.

The primary role of a Christ's disciple is the winning of souls for Christ (St Mathew 28:19-20). It is and must be the absolute love for Christ that retains one in the mission of Christ- the mission undertaken by the present day Church. It is this love for Christ which makes the difference between a faithful and an infidel. The Christian pastoral care is entrusted only to one who keeps the honest faith and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever we do in the Church should be out of our love for God. Our Worship, Service and Study without real love for God will remain futile and perfunctory.

Let us for a moment, think of ourselves. Where are we right now in our personal attitudes and social commitments? What about our relationship with God? How much sincere are we as disciples of Jesus? Are we loyal to him in obeying His will and commandments? How strong is our love for Him? Is our love for God a mere hypocrisy? Do we disguise our selfish ulterior motives within the cover of charity? Don't we often deny Christ in many ways in our secular life situations?

Even today, the risen Christ appears before each one of us searching for a contrite and confessing heart. Let us turn to God by way of real Confession and Holy Communion and renew and refresh our rapport with our master Jesus. As Jesus wanted from St. Peter, He wants each one of us to be the champion in loving Him whole heartedly. Let us re-dedicate ourselves to our Christian vocation and beseech Him to mend our broken discipleship in His mercy.

May the love and glory of the risen Christ enlighten us and accommodate us all into His loving fold and take us to the everlasting heavenly bliss. May God be with us always and bless us all.

See Also:

Restoring Simon Peter
by Rev. Fr. George T, Ireland

Devotional Thoughts for Second Sunday after New Sunday
by Rev. Fr. Mathew Chacko

Devotional Thoughts for the 2nd Sunday after the New Sunday
by Watchman Upon the Wall

Devotional Thoughts for 2nd Sunday after the New Sunday
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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