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. Jul 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals

Feed my sheep

Acts 25:13-21, Jn 21:15-19. In moments of fear we often fall short of our best. This happened even to Peter, the chief Apostle and pastor, when terrified he denied Jesus three times. After the resurrection of Christ, Peter returned to his former job as a fisherman and Jesus appeared to him by the lakeside and three times asked the incisive question in today's Gospel: “Do you love me?” At this point, Peter was no longer the impetus and impulsive man of former days, for after betraying Jesus, he became a man of humility and remorse. At first, he returned to the work he knew best, sobered by failure and now ready to get on with his life, with new self-awareness. After tasting his own need for mercy he learned compassion for others and became the kind of man to effectively lead the Church. Not once, not twice, but three times Jesus asks him to reaffirm his faith: “Do you love me?” Only when Peter answers with humble love and total surrender: “Lord, you know everything,” does Jesus commission him to “Feed my sheep.”

Moving out from Jerusalem into a wider field of mission, Peter brought the Gospel message first to Joppa and then Antioch and later to Rome itself. Love, contrition and obedience to the Lord’s prompting became the hallmarks of his ministry. As such, he is the rock of the Church and patron of all apostolic people. Even though Peter speaks with authority, there is a quality of patience about him, clearly reflected in his epistle when he writes “I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the Church elders among you” (1 Pt 5:1). He is able to love and be loved, humble and open to others in their ideas and talents, aware of sin and able to appreciate the weakness of others, ready to obey Jesus at all costs. This is the authentic Petrine ministry our Church reveres and prays for. Jesus singled out Peter from all the Apostles and particularly sent him to “Feed my sheep.” He was to be the iconic pastor of the Church as presented to us in today's first reading.

May the Lord send His Holy Spirit to bring order out of chaos and love out of hatred, and help us to change contempt for the weak into reverence for everyone! Amen!! Good morning, it is well with you!!!

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