3 – 3 = Forgiven

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On the night Jesus was betrayed, He predicted that Simon Peter would deny he knew the Lord three times. Sure enough Peter does that precisely that (Luke 22:54-62).   Peter weeps bitterly we are told when he realises the gravity of what he has done. 

In the ultimate turn of events, Jesus not only suffers, dies and is buried – BUT RISES AGAIN! Here our story moves from denial to reconciliation. In John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter a series of 3 questions:

“15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Jesus gives Peter the chance to announce his love and devotion to Jesus.  He had failed to acknowledge Him three times in Jerusalem, but now three times confirms his relationship. Three times denied – three times affirmed = once and for all forgiven.

Padre

Jesus At Nain

In Luke 7 : 11-17 Jesus raises a widow’s son in the town of Nain: “11 Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.”  

The compassion of the act is without question.  In an age with no welfare system or pensions, the widow’s only livelihood would be her son.  His loss was not only an emotional and personal tragedy, but potentially foretold her own destitution or even death.

There is more to the story, however.  First Century Jews awaited Messiah.  They believed that Elijah or a great prophet in the mould of Elijah would usher in the age of Messiah.  Look at I Kings 17:17-24:  “17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

Jesus’ raising of the son at Nain, was not only an act of compassion, but a declaration of the symbolic return of Elijah.  The age of Messiah has come. Jesus would go on to meet every expectation – of Elijah, of a prophet like Moses, and of Emmanuel “God with us.”  He was more than prophet, more than leader, He was and is our salvation.

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Written on the Heart

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Sister Claire gave a heartfelt (no pun intended) and inspiring lesson today.  This sister captured the core of having Christ written on your heart, to in fact be Christ filled. She challenged us to look beyond the graffiti of the world which vandalizes our thoughts and actions and to look for Christ in our centres.

She made a really amazing reflection of Christ’s willingness to be in that centre.  She said in her own walk  she had “had Jesus walk with her, sometimes carry her . . ., [and when needs be] drag her.”  What a true image of His desire for us to have relationship.

Is Jesus in and on your heart today?  Thanks to this “little sister” of ours, I am making all the more effort to have and keep him in mine.

Padre

Integrity

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There was an article the other day about a young woman who found a £20 note on the floor of the local shop and pocketed it.  The person who had accidentally dropped the money went to the store looking for it, and the staff looked through the security video and saw the woman finding and keeping it.  The result, the £20 pounds cost the finder nearly £200 and a criminal record.
I reflect on that as I found a £10 note at a supermarket, and turned it into the customer services desk.  It was recorded in a book, and months later I was called by the store to say no one had claimed it so, I could come collect it.

Many of us take the view that “finders keepers” is morally acceptable.  But an examination of the circumstances should be a guide for us.  Most people do not randomly drop money as part of their daily routine.  Allowing for this and the fact that money “doesn’t grow on trees,” we should assume it belongs to someone.

Without the whole “Thou shalt not steal” thing, there is a more Christian (rather than Old Testament) principle at work here.  “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  If we are reacting to others and their losses as we would want to be treated, we would earnestly seek to make their frustration or even anxiety less.  It is a matter of integrity, but even more so of love.

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REflection

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I teach religious education or RE.  It is a much misunderstood subject, and it was interesting today when I had a student inform me that her father believed the entire course was a waste of time.

I find it interesting, as did CS Lewis decades ago, that Western secular, materialist society believes their values and beliefs are somehow superior to the billions of people of faith on the planet.

This reflection comes on the heels of an article I read yesterday which noted that only a small percentage of Millennials have a religious faith.  Put simply they don’t trust institutions, value a concern for others (as opposed to their own needs and priorities), and see hypocrisy “everywhere.”

Let us then avoid institutionalizing of faith, let us be true to our own altruism, and most importantly – let us be true to our message.

Padre