"It is only because, at the very core of our being, we know ourselves to be forgiven that we can lead others to the audacious love of Christ."
Richard Gaillardetz, "Give Us This Day"
This jumped right off the page for me today. The Gospel is John 21:15-19; Jesus asking Peter on the beach, "Do you love me?" Then, when Peter responds yes, he does love Jesus, Jesus tells him what to do, "Feed my lambs..." Peter had denied Jesus in the courtyard the night of Jesus' arrest and was wounded by this. Jesus gives Peter the opportunity to make it right, by affirming his love for Jesus. And with that forgiveness that Jesus extends, he tells Peter what to do--take care of others. We can only extend to others what we ourselves have--namely the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Out of Peter's woundedness, Jesus heals him and then calls for action. Peter disappointed Jesus, but no matter now--take what you received from that, Peter, and do something positive with it. We often think our wounds get in the way of our doing God's work, don't we? I'm too shy. I'm too broken. I'm not holy enough. Phooey all that! Once we realize that God loves and forgives us we can go out and love others the same way. Let's think and pray about this as we embark on a beautiful weekend. Through our wounds, Jesus heals us and then sends us forth. Let's go! Love, heidi
..."I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them."
Earlier in today's Gospel, Jesus mentions us. "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word..." (v. 20) And that's us. So, Jesus is saying that the love with which the Father loved Jesus will be within us and Jesus, himself, will be within us. How could we possibly lose? I think things get muddy for us when we forget this truth. The truth that God is as close to us as can be, and the truth that God loves us with an incomprehensible love. If we can grasp any part of that we cannot have a bad day. Yesterday, as it happens, I was able to travel to a beautiful part of Idaho and work with a dear lady. God was present all around me and I knew that God gave me any ability I had to help this lady. It was all gift; including the Monster Cookie ice cream cone I indulged in on the way back. But, those are easy times to see God in action. I also know the difficult times when God may seem so far away and yet, readings like this confirm that God is even closer to us. Today, let's try to rest and relax in God's love for us. No matter what happens in our day, that love will never change. And may our love grow in that. Love, heidi
"May the God of nearness be with you. May you know God ever near you and never far from your deepest place of longing. When you reach out your hand to God may you know God's hand already reaching for yours. And may you have the courage and the wisdom to extend God's hand to those who approach you in need. May the God of nearness bless you."
Maxine Shonk, OP, "Blessing Upon Blessing"
I love the part about us reaching out to God and knowing that God is actually reaching for us! No matter what our June Wednesday has in store, let us know that God is never far. And let's make sure that others can sense the love of God through us and our actions toward them. Love, heidi
"All of us need to leave things behind to follow God...
It helps sometimes to look not just at what we're leaving behind and what God promises us, but also at what God has shown us already. Just look at all those fish."
James Martin, SJ, "Jesus: A Pilgrimage"
This was so fascinating to me when I read it yesterday. It prompted me to sit down with a journal and write. First, what do I feel I have left behind to follow God? Anything? Fr. Martin suggests people may give up addictions, over emphasis on worldly success, and so on. Here in this country we aren't persecuted for our faith as in other countries, so we may not actually feel we give up anything to follow God, but what about our following God's path for us? We may be giving up one way of life for another; letting go of one path (that we may have enjoyed) to follow God's will for us. Fr. Martin used the scripture of Jesus telling the fishermen to go deep and put out their nets (again). Peter said, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." (Luke 5:5) The haul of fish was so massive Peter needed his buddies to help get it in. So, despite Peter's doubt, he did what Jesus asked and was in awe of the result. I also sat and pondered all that God has shown and given me already...all the "fish" I have reeled in, leaving me in awe of Jesus' abundant gifts. I could have filled an entire journal. So, I invite you to take some quiet time and sit with this...maybe write down what comes to mind. Have you given up anything to follow God? What has God shown you as a result? Love, heidi