Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

St. Peter - Second Chances and Love

Volume 5 No. 281 April 17, 2015

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St. Peter Receiving Keys to the Kingdom
St. Peter Receiving the Keys to the Kingdom by Consegna Delle Chiavi Rubens
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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This Sunday in Church

1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (April 19)

Bible Readings For The First Sunday after New Sunday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_1st-sun-after-new-sunday.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (April 19)

Sermons for the First Sunday After New Sunday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_1st-sunday-after-new-sunday.htm

3. From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: 1st Sunday After New Sunday - Re-installation of Peter

This Week's Features

4. Inspiration for Today: Loving Kindness

5. Peter, The Fisherman

Pope Benedict XVI, an extraordinary theologian, provided a great analysis of St. Peter as part of a series looking at "the relationship between Christ and the Church as considered beginning with the experience of the apostles." The aim was to clarify the essence and foundations of the Christian faith. The two articles on Peter is an extraordinarily scholarly work, but described in a language we can all understand. ...

6. Peter, The Apostle

The second part of the exposition on St. Peter by Pope Benedict XVI. ... It was a long journey for Peter that made him a trustworthy witness, "rock" of the Church, being constantly open to the action of the Spirit of Jesus. Peter would present himself as "witness of the sufferings of Christ and participant of the glory that must manifest itself" (1 Peter 5:1). ...

7. Do You Love Me?

Make no mistake - any who heed the call to follow Jesus are likely to encounter rejection and suffering on the Way; Jesus makes this clear for both Peter and Paul. And it is a Wounded Healer that we worship. But, make no mistake, Jesus is no symbolic head of his church. He is active, seeking, directing, guiding, behind, beside, ahead of us, calling us to follow him into God's good future, loving him and singing praises as we go. ...

8. The Primacy of Peter and the Primacy of Love

The primary requirement that Jesus asks of Peter is love. In return for this love, Jesus commissions Peter to "Feed my lambs - tend my sheep - feed my sheep." The threefold repetition of this commission, together with the variations in which the shepherding charge is phrased, point to the comprehensive nature of the shepherding role being given to Peter. While all the apostles have a role as shepherd over part of the flock, Peter is commissioned as shepherd of the whole flock. ...

9. Health: How to Beat Jet Lag

The World Health Organization recommends exercise for all travelers. Endorphins are a great way to fight tiredness, and a run around the new neighborhood is a good way to see the sights. ...

10. Creole Gumbo Soup - A Classic Bohemian Recipe

11. Family Special: Three Big Secrets Extroverts Who Married Introverts Need to Know

If you're an extrovert married to an introvert, it's important to remember that when it comes to socializing with others, your spouse is not wired like you are. What may seem like a "simple" get together for you, may be a much more emotionally elaborate event for your spouse. ...

12. Unconditional Love - A Father's Story

If you are a parent, then you know exactly what it means to have unconditional love. From the moment you know about your child's existence your heart is on fire with excitement and love. We dream about the amazing lives our children will have and the joy and wonder they will remind us exists. ...

13. LL Archbishop HE Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel - 20th Anniversary Memorial

The Holy Syrian Orthodox Church celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Blessed Memorial of Late Lamented Archbishop His Eminence Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel on April 16, 2015. Thirumeni's illustrious life and self-sacrificing services as the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Unites States and Canada brought about great recognition and a solid foundation for the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere. The legacy of His Eminence also facilitated a special head start for the Malankara Faithful in North America. ...

14. About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (April 19)

Sermons for This Sunday (April 19)

From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: 1st Sunday After New Sunday - Re-installation of Peter

Volume 4 No 217: May 2, 2014
Reinstatement of Peter

Volume 3 No 138: April 18 2013
Reinstallation of Peter: Do You Love Me?

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today: Loving Kindness
Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. -- Your Father which is in heaven: ... maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Be ye ... followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet‑smelling savour. -- Be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. -- Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. -- The love of Christ constraineth us.

Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

PSA. 26:3. Psa. 145:8. ‑Matt. 5:45. Eph. 5:1,2. ‑Eph. 4:32. -I Pet. 1:22. ‑II Cor. 5:14. Luke 6:35,36.

Source: Daily Light on the Daily Path

Peter, The Fisherman

by Benedict XVI, May 17, 2006

[Editor's Note:

St. Peter is an intriguing disciple for most of us. He is very emotional, jumping into things, taking control of situations, sometimes talk without thinking, etc. just like us. He surely makes us feel quite at home. He gets the Keys to the Kingdom with his Holy Spirit-inspired Confession of the Church's Christological faith. In the next instance, Jesus rebukes him saying that Satan is now in control! What an amazing turn of events! He denies Jesus three times on Good Friday. Then he runs to Jesus' tomb on Easter Sunday to investigate the "empty tomb". Jesus, the risen savior, reinstate him on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias with the question "Do You Love Me?" three times. After Pentecost, Peter is a transformed man - willing to suffer anything for Jesus and the Church and finally gets crucified upside down.

Pope Benedict XVI, an extraordinary theologian, provided a great analysis of St. Peter as part of a series looking at "the relationship between Christ and the Church as considered beginning with the experience of the apostles." The aim was to clarify the essence and foundations of the Christian faith. The two articles on Peter is an extraordinarily scholarly work, but described in a language we can all understand.]

Dear brothers and sisters, in the new series of catecheses, we have tried above all to understand better what the Church is and what idea the Lord has about this new family of his. Then we said that the Church exists in people, and we have seen that the Lord entrusted this new reality, the Church, to the Twelve Apostles. Let us now look at them one by one, to understand through these people what it means to experience the Church and what it means to follow Jesus. We begin with St Peter.

After Jesus, Peter is the figure best known and most frequently cited in the New Testament writings: he is mentioned 154 times with the nickname of Pétros, "rock", which is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Jesus gave him directly: Cephas, attested to nine times, especially in Paul's Letters; then the frequently occurring name Simon (75 times) must be added; this is a hellenization of his original Hebrew name "Symeon" (twice: Acts 15:14; II Peter 1:1).

Son of John (cf. John 1:42) or, in the Aramaic form, "Bar-Jona, son of Jona" (cf. Matthew 16:17), Simon was from Bethsaida (cf. John 1:44), a little town to the east of the Sea of Galilee, from which Philip also came and of course, Andrew, the brother of Simon.

He spoke with a Galilean accent. Like his brother, he too was a fisherman: with the family of Zebedee, the father of James and John, he ran a small fishing business on the Lake of Gennesaret (cf. Luke 5:10). Thus, he must have been reasonably well-off and was motivated by a sincere interest in religion, by a desire for God - he wanted God to intervene in the world -, a desire that impelled him to go with his brother as far as Judea to hear the preaching of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42).

He was a believing and practising Jew who trusted in the active presence of God in his people's history and grieved not to see God's powerful action in the events he was witnessing at that time. He was married and his mother-in-law, whom Jesus was one day to heal, lived in the city of Capernaum, in the house where Simon also stayed when he was in that town (cf. Matthew 8:14ff.; Mark 1:29ff.; Luke 4:38ff.).

Recent archaeological excavations have brought to light, beneath the octagonal mosaic paving of a small Byzantine church, the remains of a more ancient church built in that house, as the graffiti with invocations to Peter testify.

The Gospels tell us that Peter was one of the first four disciples of the Nazarene (cf. Luke 5:1-11), to whom a fifth was added, complying with the custom of every Rabbi to have five disciples (cf. Luke 5:27: called Levi). When Jesus went from five disciples to 12 (cf. Luke 9:1-6), the newness of his mission became evident: he was not one of the numerous rabbis but had come to gather together the eschatological Israel, symbolized by the number 12, the number of the tribes of Israel.

Simon appears in the Gospels with a determined and impulsive character: he is ready to assert his own opinions even with force (remember him using the sword in the Garden of Olives: cf. John 18:10ff.). At the same time he is also ingenuous and fearful, yet he is honest, to the point of the most sincere repentance (cf. Matthew 26:75).

The Gospels enable us to follow Peter step by step on his spiritual journey. The starting point was Jesus' call. It happened on an ordinary day while Peter was busy with his fisherman's tasks. Jesus was at the Lake of Gennesaret and crowds had gathered around him to listen to him. The size of his audience created a certain discomfort. The Teacher saw two boats moored by the shore; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. He then asked permission to board the boat, which was Simon's, and requested him to put out a little from the land. Sitting on that improvised seat, he began to teach the crowds from the boat (cf. Luke 5: 1-3). Thus, the boat of Peter becomes the chair of Jesus.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon: "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch". And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets" (Luke 5:4-5). Jesus, a carpenter, was not a skilled fisherman: yet Simon the fisherman trusted this Rabbi, who did not give him answers but required him to trust him.

His reaction to the miraculous catch showed his amazement and fear: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus replied by inviting him to trust and to be open to a project that would surpass all his expectations. "Do not be afraid; henceforth, you will be catching men" (Luke 5:10). Peter could not yet imagine that one day he would arrive in Rome and that here he would be a "fisher of men" for the Lord. He accepted this surprising call, he let himself be involved in this great adventure: he was generous; he recognized his limits but believed in the one who was calling him and followed the dream of his heart. He said "yes", a courageous and generous "yes", and became a disciple of Jesus.

Peter was to live another important moment of his spiritual journey near Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asked the disciples a precise question: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). But for Jesus hearsay did not suffice. He wanted from those who had agreed to be personally involved with him a personal statement of their position. Consequently, he insisted: "But who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8:29).

It was Peter who answered on behalf of the others: "You are the Christ", that is, the Messiah. Peter's answer, which was not revealed to him by "flesh and blood" but was given to him by the Father who is in heaven (cf. Matthew 16:17), contains as in a seed the future confession of faith of the Church. However, Peter had not yet understood the profound content of Jesus' Messianic mission, the new meaning of this word: Messiah.

He demonstrates this a little later, inferring that the Messiah whom he is following in his dreams is very different from God's true plan. He was shocked by the Lord's announcement of the Passion and protested, prompting a lively reaction from Jesus (cf. Mark 8:32-33).

Peter wanted as Messiah a "divine man" who would fulfil the expectations of the people by imposing his power upon them all: we would also like the Lord to impose his power and transform the world instantly. Jesus presented himself as a "human God", the Servant of God, who turned the crowd's expectations upside-down by taking a path of humility and suffering.

This is the great alternative that we must learn over and over again: to give priority to our own expectations, rejecting Jesus, or to accept Jesus in the truth of his mission and set aside all too human expectations.

Peter, impulsive as he was, did not hesitate to take Jesus aside and rebuke him. Jesus' answer demolished all his false expectations, calling him to conversion and to follow him: "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men" (Mark 8:33). It is not for you to show me the way; I take my own way and you should follow me.

Peter thus learned what following Jesus truly means. It was his second call, similar to Abraham's in Genesis 22, after that in Genesis 12: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:34-35). This is the demanding rule of the following of Christ: one must be able, if necessary, to give up the whole world to save the true values, to save the soul, to save the presence of God in the world (cf. Mark 8:36-37). And though with difficulty, Peter accepted the invitation and continued his life in the Master's footsteps.

And it seems to me that these conversions of St Peter on different occasions, and his whole figure, are a great consolation and a great lesson for us. We too have a desire for God, we too want to be generous, but we too expect God to be strong in the world and to transform the world on the spot, according to our ideas and the needs that we perceive.

God chooses a different way. God chooses the way of the transformation of hearts in suffering and in humility. And we, like Peter, must convert, over and over again. We must follow Jesus and not go before him: it is he who shows us the way.

So it is that Peter tells us: You think you have the recipe and that it is up to you to transform Christianity, but it is the Lord who knows the way. It is the Lord who says to me, who says to you: follow me! And we must have the courage and humility to follow Jesus, because he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Peter, The Apostle

by Benedict XVI, May 24, 2006

Dear brothers and sisters, in these catecheses we are meditating on the Church. We have said that the Church lives in people and because of this, in the last catechesis, we began to meditate on the figure of the individual apostles, beginning with St. Peter. We saw two decisive stages of his life: the calling on the Lake of Galilee and then the confession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Messiah." A confession, we said, that is still insufficient, initial though open.

St. Peter undertakes a journey of following. Thus, this initial confession already bears in itself, like a seed, the future faith of the Church. Today we wish to consider two other events in the life of St. Peter: the multiplication of the loaves, and then the passage when the Lord calls Peter to be shepherd of the universal Church.

We begin with the event of the multiplication of loaves. You know that the people had heard the Lord for hours. At the end, Jesus said: They are tired, they are hungry, we must give these people something to eat. The apostles asked him: But how? And Andrew, Peter's brother, calls Jesus' attention to a boy who was carrying five loaves and two fish. But of what use are these for so many people? the apostles wondered.

Then the Lord had the people sit down and had the five loaves and two fish distributed. And all were filled. What is more, the Lord asked the apostles, and among them Peter, to gather the abundant leftovers: 12 baskets of bread (cf. John 12-13). Then the people, seeing this miracle – which seemed to be the much-awaited renewal of the new "manna," the gift of bread from heaven – want to make him their king.

But Jesus did not accept and withdrew to the mountain to pray alone. The following day, on the other side of the lake, in the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus interpreted the miracle – not in the sense of kingship over Israel with a power of this world in the manner expected by the crowd, but in the sense of gift of self: "The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (John 6:51). Jesus announces the cross and with the cross the true multiplication of loaves, of the Eucharistic bread -- his absolutely new way of being king, a way totally contrary to the people's expectations.

We can understand that these words of the Master – who did not want to carry out a multiplication of loaves every day, who did not want to offer Israel a power of this world – were truly difficult, even unacceptable, for the people. "Gives his flesh" – what does this mean? And even for the disciples, what Jesus said at this moment seemed unacceptable. It was and is for our heart, for our mentality, a "hard" saying that puts faith to the test (cf. John 6:60). Many of the disciples withdrew. They wanted someone who would really renew the state of Israel, its people, and not someone who said: "I give my flesh."

We can imagine that Jesus' words were difficult also for Peter, who at Caesarea Philippi was opposed to the prophecy of the cross. And yet, when Jesus asked the Twelve: "Do you also want to go away?", Peter reacted with the outburst of his generous heart, guided by the Holy Spirit. In the name of all he responds with immortal words, which are also our words: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (cf. John 6:66-69).

Here, as in Caesarea, Peter initiates with his words the confession of the Church's Christological faith and also becomes the voice of the other apostles and of us believers of all times. This does not mean that he had understood the mystery of Christ in all its profundity. His was still an initial faith, a journeying faith. It would come to true fullness only through the experience of the paschal events.

But, nevertheless, it was already faith, open to a greater reality – open above all because it was not faith in something, but faith in Someone: in him, Christ. Thus our faith is also an initial faith and we must still journey a long way. However, it is essential that it be an open faith that lets itself be guided by Jesus, because not only does he know the way, but he is the way.

Peter's impetuous generosity does not safeguard him, however, from the risks connected to human weakness. It is what we can also recognize based on our lives. Peter followed Jesus with drive; he surmounted the test of faith, abandoning himself to him. But the moment comes when he also gives way to fear and falls: He betrays the Master (cf. Mark 14:66-72). The school of faith is not a triumphal march, but a journey strewn with sufferings and love, trials and faithfulness to be renewed every day.

Peter, who had promised absolute faithfulness, knows the bitterness and humiliation of denial: The arrogant learns humility at his expense. Peter, too, must learn that he is weak and in need of forgiveness. When the mask finally falls and he understands the truth of his weak heart of a believing sinner, he breaks out in liberating tears of repentance. After this weeping, he is now ready for his mission.

On a spring morning, this mission would be entrusted to him by the risen Jesus. The meeting would take place on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias. It is the Evangelist John who refers to the dialogue that took place in that circumstance between Jesus and Peter. One notes a very significant play of words. In Greek the word "filéo" expresses the love of friendship, tender but not total, whereas the word "agapáo" means love without reservations, total and unconditional.

Jesus asks Peter the first time: "Simon … do you love me ('agapâs-me')" with this total and unconditional love (cf. John 21:15)? Before the experience of the betrayal, the apostle would certainly have said: "I love you ('agapô-se') unconditionally." Now that he has known the bitter sadness of infidelity, the tragedy of his own weakness, he says with humility: "Lord, I love you ('filô-se')," that is, "I love you with my poor human love." Christ insists: "Simon, do you love me with this total love that I want?" And Peter repeats the answer of his humble human love: "Kyrie, filô-se," "Lord, I love you as I know how to love."

The third time Jesus only says to Simon: "Fileîs-me?", "Do you love me?" Simon understood that for Jesus his poor love, the only one he is capable of, is enough, and yet he is saddened that the Lord had to say it to him in this way. Therefore, he answered: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you ('filô-se')."

It would seem that Jesus adapted himself to Peter, rather than Peter to Jesus! It is precisely this divine adaptation that gives hope to the disciple, who has known the suffering of infidelity. From here trust is born that makes him able to follow to the end: "This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God. And after this he said to him, 'Follow me'" (John 21:19).

From that moment, Peter "followed" the Master with the precise awareness of his own frailty; but this awareness did not discourage him. He knew in fact that he could count on the presence of the Risen One beside him. From the ingenuous enthusiasm of the initial adherence, passing through the painful experience of denial and the tears of conversion, Peter came to entrust himself to that Jesus who adapted himself to his poor capacity to love. And he also shows us the way, despite all our weakness.

We know that Jesus adapts himself to our weakness. We follow him, with our poor capacity to love and we know that Jesus is good and he accepts us. It was a long journey for Peter that made him a trustworthy witness, "rock" of the Church, being constantly open to the action of the Spirit of Jesus. Peter would present himself as "witness of the sufferings of Christ and participant of the glory that must manifest itself" (1 Peter 5:1).

When he wrote these words he was already old, having reached the end of his life, which he would seal with martyrdom. He was now able to describe the true joy and to indicate where the latter can be attained: The source is Christ believed and loved with our weak but sincere faith, notwithstanding our frailty. That is why he would write the Christians of his community, and he says it also to us: "Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Source: Saint Peter As Seen by His Successor (extraordinary document from B16 on his preaching and papacy) Sandro Magister, Chiesa.com

Do You Love Me?

by Janice Love

Gospel: John 21: 1-19

What a gift the Great Fifty Days are for the church! Time to celebrate. Time to ponder. Celebrate and ponder the stupefying wonder that is the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Here we are on the third Sunday of Easter and the disciples still aren't getting it. Their continued bafflement speaks volumes to the shock of what has taken place. Thousands of years later the ripples of that decisive Act of God can continue to confound us; the church is still in need of this gift of time to yearly reorient ourselves to what God is up to.

Unexpected, startling, the Resurrection of Jesus has left the disciples at loose ends, unsure of what the implications are and of what they are to do with themselves. "I am going fishing." says Simon Peter in this Sunday's text from John. This is the first hint in John's gospel that some of the disciples are former fishermen. When confronted with something surprisingly new, it seems to be human nature to fall back on old ways. The others, lacking for any better ideas of what to do, decide to join him. They hang out the "Gone Fishing" sign and head for the boat, though their efforts prove fruitless. It all seems a bit anticlimactic and even a little lame after everything that's happened. Perhaps the real miracle is that the church was birthed at all!

Enter once again the Risen Christ, stage right – technically for the fourth time, if you count the first appearance to Mary, which the text apparently does not, claiming that this is Jesus' third appearance to the disciples. Only under his direction does their fishing bear fruit…or fish, I should say. The disciples, in all their frailty and failings, have chosen to answer Christ's call to follow him and it seems only in following him will they be prospered. Prospered not for themselves, however, but prospered for the sake of the gospel and God's beloved world. Narcissism may be our North American culture's new normal but it does not have a place in the economy of God.

Now, after a BBQ breakfast on the beach and with their full and rapt attention, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and the only One found worthy in our text from Revelation to break the seven seals and open the scroll held by God (look out!!) engages in some vocation management with Peter.

"Do you love me?"
"Do you love me?"
"Do you love me?"

Three times achingly affirmed by Peter, "I love you," for three denials when the heat was on.

"Feed my lambs."
"Tend my sheep."
"Feed my sheep."

Thankfully Peter doesn't get sidetracked into farming the way St. Francis did with constructing church buildings. If the church finds itself getting sidetracked, as we have so often done, perhaps it would be good to return to Jesus' question of Peter… "Do you love me?"

Meanwhile, the fledgling church soon comes under threat. Saul's zeal is "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord". Where Saul was throughout Jesus' life and ministry we are not told, but he has made it his mission now to take down the followers of the Way who cannot, it seems, be stamped completely out despite the death of their leader.

Enter the risen Christ – stage left – to once again do some vocation management. But, unlike Peter, who needed the flames under his butt fanned (gently) to get moving, Saul needs cooling off. Only the Risen Christ is able to bring the zeal of Saul to his knees. And bring it, he does. Everything goes suddenly south for Saul, everything suddenly shifts, like in an earthquake when what seems solid becomes liquid. True reality revealed to him, Saul is blinded and loses his appetite, dependant now on help from the very people he has been persecuting to be able to see again, to see anew. His zeal, the instrument Christ has chosen for his own purposes, now returns to proclaim Jesus risen: "He is the Son of God."

Make no mistake – any who heed the call to follow Jesus are likely to encounter rejection and suffering on the Way; Jesus makes this clear for both Peter and Paul. And it is a Wounded Healer that we worship. But, make no mistake, Jesus is no symbolic head of his church. He is active, seeking, directing, guiding, behind, beside, ahead of us, calling us to follow him into God's good future, loving him and singing praises as we go.

Copyright © 2014 Ekklesia Project. All rights reserved.

The Primacy of Peter and the Primacy of Love

by John Bergsma, The Sacred Page

Gospel: John 21:1-19

This week, our readings highlight the primacy of Peter among the Apostles, and the primacy of love in following Jesus.

Some scholars insist that John 21 is an addition to the Gospel by a different author than chapters 1-20, but this has to be regarded as improbable and unsupported. The language, structures, and thought in John 21 are very similar to those in the rest of the Gospel, and there are a large number of inter-textual links that bind John 21 with the entire book.

Two other Gospel passages have to be kept in mind to properly understand John 21.

The first is Luke 5:1-11, where Jesus initially calls the disciples. After preaching from Peter's boat, Jesus tells Peter to "put out into the deep" (duc in altum) for a big catch, even though they had toiled all night and caught nothing. Peter and the sons of Zebedee pull in an amazing catch of fish, Peter begs the Lord to depart because he is a "sinful man", and Jesus calls the disciples to follow him and become fishers of men. There are several obvious parallels with this Sunday's Gospel. John the Evangelist presupposes that the reader knows the story of Luke 5, in order to grasp that here, in John 21, after the resurrection, Jesus is renewing his call to the Apostles to "follow him" and calling them back to their original vocation and mission. This is one of several instances where John presupposes that his readers have some familiarity with the life of Jesus from the other Gospels or possibly oral tradition.

The other Gospel passage to be kept in mind is John 18:15-18,25-27, the account of the threefold denial of Jesus by Peter. When Peter denied Jesus, he was warming himself over a "charcoal fire" (John 18:18). Jesus makes a "charcoal fire" to cook breakfast in this Sunday's Gospel (John 21:9). These are the only two references to a charcoal fire in the Gospel of John, indeed in all of Scripture. It's not accidental - Peter is being reminded of the night of his betrayal, and Jesus will allow him a chance to ritually "renounce his renunciation" three times.

This Gospel account highlights the primacy of Peter among the Apostles. The character of Peter, in fact, dominates most of John 21, the conclusion of this greatest of the Gospels, even though the Gospel was clearly written by a different apostle (John 21:20-24):

(1) Peter is listed first among the disciples named as present.
(2) The other disciples follow his lead by accompanying him fishing.
(3) When Jesus shows his presence on the shore, Peter is the first one to go ashore, followed by the others.
(4) The others don't seem to be able to get the fish ashore. But then, the way John describes it, it sounds like Peter goes single-handedly back on board the boat and drags the net of 153 fish in by himself.
(5) After the breakfast, Peter alone is granted a private audience with the risen Lord.

Obviously the author of this Gospel has a high regard for Peter and his role among the Apostles and within the Church. This account is an enacted parable about the mission of the Church. Jesus sends the Apostles to fish for men, but they will not be successful without his presence. With Jesus' presence, and lead by Peter, the Apostles will do an amazing job in drawing in the "net full of fish" (see Matt 13:47-50) which is the Church, the kingdom of heaven.

But this Gospel is not only about the primacy of Peter, it is also about the primacy of love. During the "audience" between Jesus and Peter (vv. 15-19), Peter's ritual re-confirmation as chief shepherd all revolves around his love for the Lord.

First, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" The question is ambiguous. Who are the "these"? Does Jesus mean:

(1) "Do you love me more than [you love] these [other men]?" I.e. Do you love me above all other persons in your life?

(2) "Do you love me more than these [fish]?" I.e. Do you love me more than you profession, your way of life, your livelihood, your "comfort zone"?

(3) "Do you love me more than these [other men do]?" I.e. Do you have greater love for me than others do? Do you excel in love, so as to be suitable to excel also in authority?

Ambiguity abounds in the Gospel of John, and I think it is intentional. All three meanings may well be meant. Jesus is eliciting from Peter a comprehensive love to correspond to the comprehensive role of shepherding that he will bestow.

Three times Jesus asks about Peter's love; three times he affirms it. Two different words for "love" are used in the Greek. The first two times, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you agape me?" Agape is the word for divine love. Peter always answers, "I phileo you." Phileo is the Greek word for fraternal love. The last time, Jesus adopts Peter's term and asks, "Do you phileo me?"

This gives the impression that Jesus asks twice, Do you love me with divine love? And Peter responds twice, "I love you with brotherly love." And at last Jesus condescends to Peter's capabilities, "Do you love me with brotherly love?", thus implying that such love will suffice: Jesus will accept what Peter, no longer brash and now painfully cognizant of his human weakness, knows he can offer.

This interpretation is suggestive, but must be entertained with caution, because both phileo and agapao are used elsewhere in John for both divine and human love. We can't be certain that a distinction is intended here.

The idea that Jesus is condescending to Peter's human weakness is, nonetheless, clear from the passage as a whole. Otherwise, Jesus would have rejected Peter on account of his threefold denial at the Lord's time of need.

The primary requirement that Jesus asks of Peter is love. In return for this love, Jesus commissions Peter to "Feed my lambs - tend my sheep - feed my sheep." The threefold repetition of this commission, together with the variations in which the shepherding charge is phrased, point to the comprehensive nature of the shepherding role being given to Peter. While all the apostles have a role as shepherd over part of the flock, Peter is commissioned as shepherd of the whole flock. As A. Kostenberger puts it: "[Peter], who has renounced all earthly ties and who has declared supreme loyalty to Jesus … is commissioned to serve as shepherd of Jesus' flock as the Great Shepherd takes his leave."

Peter's love will lead to the cross. "When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands" –this is a reference to stretching one's arms on the patibulum, the perpendicular bar of a Roman cross.

Love and authority go together in the Church. Love gives credibility to authority. This Sunday's Gospel lays out the role of Peter and all his successors: the most renounce all others and excel in love of Jesus in order to lead the whole Church.

At the same time, the Lord's words are applied to us: Do we love him "more than these"? Do we love him more than we love other persons, than we love our profession and lifestyle? Do we in any way distinguish ourselves from other people by our love for Christ? That's what it means to follow Jesus, and everyone, from the Pope to the most unknown believer, has to respond to Jesus' summons: "Follow me!"

Health Tip: How to Beat Jet Lag

From MSN.com

The World Health Organization recommends exercise for all travelers. Endorphins are a great way to fight tiredness, and a run around the new neighborhood is a good way to see the sights. The World Health Organization recommends exercise for all travelers, saying that a workout during the day helps promote a good night's sleep and helps get people on a schedule. For travelers, however, the organization recommends avoiding strenuous exercise within two hours of trying to go to sleep to ease people into the time transition.

Creole Gumbo Soup - A Classic Bohemian Recipe

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Take two young chickens, cut in pieces, roll in flour and fry to light brown.

Take the fried chicken, a ham bone stripped of meat for flavor, a tablespoonful of chopped thyme, of rosemary, two bay leaves, a sprig of tarragon and boil in four quarts of water until the meat loosens from the bones.

Slice and fry brown two large onions and add two heaping quarts of sliced okra and one cut up pod of red pepper. Stir all over the fire until the okra is thoroughly wilted then remove the larger bones and let cook three quarters of an hour before serving.

Half an hour before serving add a can of tomatoes or an equal quantity of fresh ones, and a pint of shrimps, boiled and shredded.

Have a dish of well boiled and dry rice and serve with two or three tablespoonfuls in each soup plate.

Family Special: Three Big Secrets Extroverts Who Married Introverts Need to Know

by Debra Fileta

Are you more of an extrovert or an introvert?

With the rise of personality inventories flooding the web, you may have seen that question floating around social media lately in some way, shape, or form.

But believe it or not, these inventories are not just the next fad to hit the web. The truth is, personality inventories have been around for quite some time in the professional world. In fact, as a Licensed Professional Counselor, I've used personality inventories on myself as well as many of my clients.

As fun and interesting as they might be to take, the importance of getting to know yourself goes far beyond a fun Facebook fad, because the knowledge and self-awareness they bring have the ability to impact your life and even your relationships.

When it comes to marriage and relationships, a popular personality scale to consider is that of Introvert to Extrovert. People often think that the terms introvert and extrovert describe whether or not a person likes being around people. But the truth is that these terms are not descriptions of your affinity toward people, but rather, how you tend to recharge.

Are you a person who recharges and refuels by pulling away and being alone? You're an Introvert. Or are you a person who recharges by being engaged with people and interacting in relationships? That's an Extrovert! The answer to these kind of questions is very important because it impacts how you take care of yourself and, in turn, how you relate to others.

Sometimes in marriage both partners have very similar personalities and traits. They understand each other because they have similar needs and desires due to the nature of their personality types.

But more times than not, married couples tend to have differences in their personalities, and like the saying goes, "opposites attract." Opposites tend to attract because we are drawn to people who balance us out. We find ourselves pulled in the direction of people who have strengths in the areas where we have weaknesses, and vice versa. But just as quickly as opposites attract, they can also attack when we there isn't a deliberate attempt at healthy communication and understanding. Oftentimes, the same differences that pulled us together are the very things that cause conflict within a relationship. And because of the differences in personalities, you may find yourself speaking a totally different language than your spouse.

When it comes time to recharge and refuel, if you're an extrovert married to an introvert, here are a few key things to remember:

1. Alone-time vs. Together Time

If you're an extreme extrovert, you probably don't even know the meaning of "alone-time." Because extroverts get recharged by being around people, they try to fill their time with relationships and interactions to the best of their ability. If you're an extrovert married to an introvert, you need to remember that their need for socialization isn't quite the same as yours.

As much as introverts love people, in order for them to fuel up and recharge they have a need to simply be alone. This important alone-time gives them what they need to be able to interact and communicate to the best of their ability. It's not only important, but it's healthy for the introvert to get to a place where they can recognize and request some time alone. But to an extroverted spouse, the words, "Honey, can I have a few minutes to myself?" can almost sound rude or insulting. If you're an extrovert, remember not to take this request as a personal insult, because it's simply a sign that your partner needs to refuel and recharge. Be deliberate about building time into each day to allow for a chance to connect, while also making room for that important alone-time as needed. Talk about your different needs, and come up with a plan so that both partners feel loved in the way that speaks their language.

2. Internal Processing vs. External Processing

For many extroverts, problems solving, conflict management, and decision-making are processes that need to be talked through. I am definitely one of those people. My husband will tell you that I enjoy talking everything through down to the itty-bitty details. There's just something about verbalizing and articulating the situation out loud that helps an extrovert digest the information and come to a conclusion. "Talking it out" is simply part of the healing process. But what you have to remember as an extrovert, is that this is not always so for an introvert.

Many introverts like to think things through rather than talk things out. They tend to "take it in" rather than "talk it out." They can internalize information in order to digest it better in moments of quiet. Some introverts may even need some time to step away and think before taking for a chance to speak. When problems or conflict arise in a relationship, it's important to remember this key difference between introverts and extroverts, otherwise you'll end up playing a game of cat-and-mouse with one person trying to "talk it out" while the other person is not quite ready.

If you're married to an introvert, remember that it's not only okay, but important to give them a chance to think before requesting for them to speak. Allow them the freedom to step back or step away from a situation momentarily, with the goal of coming together later to process, discuss, and work through the situation at hand.

3. One-on-One vs. Large Groups

"Bringing some friends home for lunch. See you in 10 minutes" was the simple text message that caused a major argument between two of our married friends. Being an extrovert, bringing a few friends home was no big deal for her. But as an introvert, her husband needed a warning and some time to prepare. Ten minutes of prep time just didn't cut it when being around people was such a draining experience for his introverted personality. But it's moments like this that remind us of the genuine and beautiful God-given differences between each of our personalities, as well as the difficulties those differences can cause if not well understood.

If you're an extrovert married to an introvert, it's important to remember that when it comes to socializing with others, your spouse is not wired like you are. What may seem like a "simple" get together for you, may be a much more emotionally elaborate event for your spouse. A quick text message or an impromptu gathering may come across as disrespectful or inconsiderate to your spouse. And though it might feed your social life, it may all the while be draining your marriage. Taking these differences into consideration, it's important to learn to talk through your schedule, planning ahead for events or situations that might push one or the other of you out of their comfort zone. Get things on the calendar and find the right balance of one-one-one intimate gatherings and large group settings.

There's no doubt that personality differences in marriage can cause conflict, but they can also be used by God to build in us empathy, bolster our communication skills, and teach us how to selflessly love in the language that is most meaningful to our spouse.

About The Author:

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book 'True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life' as well as the '21-Days To JumpStart Your Love-Life Program', where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She's also the creator of the 'True Love Dates Blog!'

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

Unconditional Love - A Father's Story

by Marc Seymour

If you are a parent, then you know exactly what it means to have unconditional love. From the moment you know about your child's existence your heart is on fire with excitement and love. We dream about the amazing lives our children will have and the joy and wonder they will remind us exists.

My story is no different. My wife - Mandy - and I were blessed with an amazing little boy and found out our second child would arrive a few short months after our son turned two. Four weeks before our due date we were settling in. No more trips, time to start getting the house ready and definitely time to pack the hospital bag. And then Quinn was born. Four weeks early, in a mad rush of adrenaline and excitement our beautiful baby girl was born inside our house, luckily with the help of our new friends - the fire department! In those first few moments I had the most unbelievable day dream. I pictured my beautiful daughter at my side as I prepared to walk her down the aisle. My heart was bursting with JOY!

In the hours and days to come we learned that my dream would likely never happen. While Quinn looked perfect at birth, something was definitely not right. Her skin was developing huge, fluid filled blisters all around her diaper and on her legs. Her finger nails were popping off nearly whole. We were terrified. Not only did we have no idea what was wrong, but our daughter was in pain. She could not tell us how much, but as a parent you know. We held her almost non-stop. You sign up for sleep deprivation when you have kids, but you hope for a whole lot more than we were getting. The worst part is the first two dermatologists we met had no idea what they were looking at. Lucky for us the third dermatologist knew what he was looking at. Unlucky for us and Quinn, he told us it was Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa. Further testing would confirm that Quinn had Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa (JEB) - Herlitz variant. Several frantic days in front of the computer left me in utter disbelief. I saw some of the most gut-wrenching pictures I had ever seen. And, I learned that JEB-Herlitz claims life - generally before a child celebrates their first birthday. I learned the blisters we could see only told part of the story. Anything with a mucous membrane internally from the nose down to the bottom can be equally as horrific.

We found reason for hope in a clinical trial being done in Minnesota. It was aimed at fixing the genetic defect that we had passed on unknowingly to Quinn. It was offering a Hope at a life with less pain and less bandages, it was offering a Hope at life. The clinical trial involves a bone marrow transplant and it was working for Quinn. Unfortunately, bone marrow transplant and life with EB are both incredibly difficult and Quinn fought so hard. Quinn was given her ultimate cure on April 7, 2012 when she went to heaven.

There are so many painful details that I cannot wipe from my memory. And we have been asked, "Do you wish this never happened?" It's a simple answer - NO! Yes, I wish Quinn had been born perfect and yes, I wish she was the beautiful three-year old she should be. But, no, I would not give back her life for anything. Her life gave Mandy and I a beautiful gift. It allowed us to see the true LOVE that does exist in our world. We live in Ohio, so you can imagine how scary it is to learn you need to move your whole family to Minnesota to get care for your child. Move away from your support system and put your hope in strangers. If you are a parent, you understand our decision - there really was not a decision to be made; we were going. I could type for days about the amazing things that happened for us and Quinn during her too short life and those that continue today.

I started a blog to give updates to our family and friends. At the end of the first week we have 500 people registered. Shortly their after it grew to almost 10,000! We received love and encouragement from all over the world. It was one way that we were now seeing unconditional love returned to us.

We had love shown to us in big ways. Benefit dinners that were held for us by friends, family, and our parish community to allow us to not worry about any bills while we cared for Quinn - least wise the concern we had for how we would cover the $10,000 per month bandage charges if our insurance decided not to cover it. These big events were such a blessing to us. They truly allowed us to care for Quinn and ourselves and have no other worries.

It would not be right to say one type of love gesture meant more to us than any other, they were just different. And some of the smallest still stick with us today. Here is one that took me so off guard, I will remember it forever. Quinn stayed in a room on the bone marrow transplant unit (BMT) as her primary room. However, she spent more time than we would have liked on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). These units were like two completely different worlds. All new staff and all new procedures...and definitely new concerns. One morning it was relatively quiet in the PICU when someone knocked at our door. In walked the sweet woman who cleaned our BMT room most days. She had not seen us for a few days and she was worried about how Quinn was doing. Never mind that she was from Ethiopia and we struggled to understand her as much as she struggled to understand us! She loved Quinn and she was worried about her. My heart was so full of love.

Love was shown to us every day at the Ronald McDonald House we lived in. They truly are the Houses that LOVE built. It was the staff we saw all the time and the volunteers that showed up week after week to keep the house running smoothly. It was the countless meals they served to help us focus all of our attention on our children. It was the one volunteer - Pat. He showed up every Wednesday and did little jobs around the house before dinner. Then he blew up the bouncy house down in the gymnasium so all the little kids could bounce and play. We loved "bouncy house Wednesday!" It was a night we would try to have someone else stay with Quinn for an hour so that Mandy and I could eat dinner with our son and watch him bounce. It was a night we knew Pat would stay after all the big kids left to let the three of us bounce together. Those were some of the only nights we truly smiled. We giggled and grinned as we played like kids....those 30 minutes were life changing! NO - we do not wish that Quinn's life had never happened. Quinn's life showed us that true LOVE does exist in our world. And Quinn's life continues to challenge us today with a big question - what love are we giving back to the world?

Mandy and I were blessed with an amazing support system and a strong faith to lean on. Unfortunately, we saw so many others that were not given those gifts. They struggled mightily to keep going, to recognize the hope. To help with these families we have spearheaded the fundraising efforts to build the Quinn Seymour Chapel. This will be a space inside the hospital that Quinn lived in - the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. This hospital is state of the art and new, having been opened in the spring of 2011. With the hospital's support, we are over 50% of the way to the goal of $500,000. I may never get to walk Quinn down the aisle, but she sure has set our hearts on fire to make sure so many others can find the joy and hope that comes from standing at the back of a chapel!

About The Author:

Marc and Mandy Seymour are parents living the busy lives that parents live. Marc is a 401k wholesaler and Mandy is a practicing school psychologist. They work for a living and use their free time to try and repay the love the world showed to them through the fundraising to build the Quinn Seymour Chapel.

Source: Life's Journey Magazine

LL Archbishop HE Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel - 20th Anniversary Memorial

by Fr. Mathai Varkey Puthukkunnathu

Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." Heb 13:7

The Holy Syrian Orthodox Church celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Blessed Memorial of Late Lamented Archbishop His Eminence Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel on April 16, 2015. Thirumeni's illustrious life and self-sacrificing services as the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Unites States and Canada brought about great recognition and a solid foundation for the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere. The legacy of His Eminence also facilitated a special head start for the Malankara Faithful in North America.

The current Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America is one of many noteworthy legacies of Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel. Since the early years of his service in North America, His Eminence maintained a close relationship and a warm corner for the Keralite Syrian Christians and made him available to their spiritual and community welfare.

From many who walked before us in the Lord's service to several of the present Malankara Archdiocesan Clergy and Faithful, including my humble self, were fortunate enough to enjoy and cherish that distinguished paternal care, hospitality, nurturing and incomparable spiritual leadership of His Eminence and those are currently cherished with nostalgic feelings by many.

His Eminence was born on Christmas Day in 1909 and passed on to the life eternal on an Easter Sunday (Gregorian) in 1995 and was entombed in the St. Mary's Cathedral, Losser in the Netherlands. Together with few others from the United States, my humble self was fortunate to attend the memorable funeral services, led by His Holiness our beloved Late Lamented Patriarch, Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. May the Lord keep the departed soul among His Preferred Ones and let the blessed memory of H. E. Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel be a strong hold to all of us.

In His Eminence's Blessed Memory

Fr. Mathai Varkey Puthukkunnathu
Vicar, St. Ignatius Elias III Syrian Orthodox Church, Atlanta, USA.

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