Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - "Making Up"
Because we are not perfect, arguments and disagreements are part of life- at work, at recreation, at home. Consequently, "making up" has to be part of life. Each reading today brings a different message, but it is the Gospel that provides the basis for our theme as we read of Jesus dealing with Peter following his denial of knowing Christ.

Acts 5:27-32, 40-41 - Advises that there are times when there is no other course open to the Christian than confrontation when it is a question of obeying man rather than obeying God.

Apocalypse 5: 11- 14 - When reading from the Book of Revelations, it must be understood that all the symbolic language has definite practical aims. Here John is warning the early Christian community against the pagan practice of emperor worship. Jesus is the true emperor who has established his dominance over death and life.

Gospel John 21: 1-19 - This reading combines two very old resurrection stories. Firstly there is the account of the first appearance of the Lord to the apostles by the lake at Galilee; then we have the story of the Lord's first appearance to Peter when he empowers Peter with the responsibility of delegated authority.

Point 1:- Few , if any, escape the experience of being hurt, of being let down by someone we trusted, even loved. And we are all familiar with our natural reaction to that experience - anger, abuse, sometimes fisticuffs followed by that ultimate form of human disapproval - no speaks! And we all know, too, how difficult it is to make up when this happens.

In the first instance, one has to be generous; to be willing to forgive and to put behind us the unpleasantness of the current situation, and generosity does not come easily. The problem is that, in order to be generous, one has to become vulnerable. By taking the initiative, one becomes exposed to the possibility of being rejected, or ridiculed. And no one likes to be taken advantage of in that way. But the fact remains - reconciliation is one of the more pleasurable and rewarding of human activities. According to some, it makes having an argument worthwhile! Look at it! Peace where there was war; love where there was hatred; friendship where there was enmity; good feelings where there had been ill feeling; understanding where there had been misunderstanding. All these situations bring great satisfaction to those who participate in them.

Point 2: Now let us look at the situation in today's Gospel. This is Peter's first encounter with the Risen Christ. He must have vivid memories of recent events - his protestation of undying love and loyalty -[Mat 26:35] Peter said to him, "Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples, - to be followed so quickly by his denial - [Mat 26:73] After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you." [Mat 26:74] Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know the man!"

Conclusion: Now look at the reaction of Jesus - no reproaches, no reprimands, no "I told you so", no harsh judgements, no warnings about "if you do this again", no bawling out. All Jesus asks for is a reaffirmation of Peter's love. Total generosity and magnanimity of spirit! There are, in life, situations that are irreparable; but, they are few. For the most part, there are many relationships that are broken and could be repaired with a little effort on both sides. My point today - understand that reconciliation is an important part of our Christian response.

Scriptural reference: As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [Col 3:12-13]