Simon Peter offers us our best hope


Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-20

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The summer seems to be going by so fast, it is already the end of July, were did the days go? As a Catholic/Christian I am faced with many conflicts with my feelings and my faith. And this summer I have had to confront a few. Both being on the same thing. I know that we are called to forgive and to love our enemies. I get that part, but the part I often am confused about is what then, what’s next, so I forgive them, than what?

Do I have to forget what took place, do I have to be friends with them again. I know I have to love them, but do I have to love them like a brother or sister? Do I have to be friends with them? The questions nag at me and beckon for an answer.

My view point is no, I do not have to forget what has taken place, I do not have to be friends with them I do not have to love them like a brother or sister. But yes I must forgive them and I must love them. But love them how?

In the bible when Jesus questions Simon Peter three times about his love for Him, Jesus uses two different word for love. The first time Jesus questions Peter He asks Peter if he loved Him as God loves. A love that is all consuming, a love the know no bounds. That’s the kind of love that God shows us, a love that is unending a love that loves regardless. That was the kind of love Jesus was asking Peter about. Yet Peter responded with a brothers love, a love that knows limits, a love that fills the heart but falls short on the soul. Jesus asked again, using the same love, the same question and Peter responded the same way. The third time Jesus asked Peter, Jesus used a humanly love, a love that Peter could understand, a love that he could comprehend, and Peter responded in-kind.

God calls us to love, he even calls us to love with a love that we do not yet understand, but He also knows our limits, and like with Peter, God will ask us to a higher divine love, yet he will accepts a lower humanly love. A love that fills the heart but fails the soul.

So when I forgive what love am I called to? The higher divine love or the lower human love? That’s an easy question, we are all called to the higher divine love, yet we all fail and we default to the love we understand, a love with conditions, a human love.

The love that Jesus asked about is a love that knows no bounds, a love that is willing to die for the ones it loves. Simon Peter denied Jesus, yet Jesus still asked Peter if he loved Him with a divine love, and Peter was to frail, to weak, to human to respond in-kind.

We are but lowly creatures. yes we are made in the image of God but we are not God. Yes we are called to be a Jesus is, yet we are not Jesus. Simon Peter offers us our best hope, he too was like me, he too had difficulty understanding the love of God in contrast to the love of humanity. He to wanted to love as God loves, yet found that he was only able to offer the love of a man. Yet God accepted it, Jesus calls Peter to feed His sheep, to tend His flock. If the love that Peter offered was acceptable to Jesus, was adequate than the love that I offer must also be.

Yet it still seems shallow, some how it falls short and fails to fill even the heat. Yet I must strive to love as Jesus commanded, Love thy neighbor as I have loved you. A tall order in-deed, yet one that He feels we must be able to accomplish. So I will continue with my struggle, and I will continue to strive for the divine love that I am called to, but until than I will love a man loves, a love that is hollow, yet it seems to satisfy.

God Bless

Paul

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