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Week 4 Day 3: Accepting God’s Forgiveness (Peter)

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’” John 21:15

Accepting God’s Forgiveness (Peter)
Peter’s sins and transgressions mirror our own. With Christ’s commandment to Peter to also “feed his lambs,” Jesus is saying that love is not merely a matter of words, but of actions.

-Br. Lucas Hall



Transcript:

This week we’re focusing on the theme of Jesus’ personal relationships, and today we’re looking at the forgiveness of Peter in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. In the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter had repeatedly denied knowing Christ. Here, Jesus is inviting Peter back into a loving relationship with him, demonstrating his unlimited mercy.

This is mercy that is aimed not just at forgiveness of the transgression but the restoration of relationship. It’s aimed at reconciliation. Peter’s proper place is to love Jesus and to be in communion with him. This mercy is aimed at restoring that communion to its former glory. In this, Peter’s sins and transgressions mirror our own. With Christ’s commandment to Peter to also “feed his lambs,” Jesus is saying that love is not merely a matter of words, but of actions.

I invite you to think about the parts of your life that you might like to bring to Jesus in a spirit of restoration, reconciliation, and love. I also would like you to think about how you might use that love to “feed Jesus’s lambs.”

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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22 Comments

  1. Mary Anderson on March 20, 2018 at 01:59

    This reflection brought to mind a quote from James 2:14-26: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    As I deepen my faith and open my heart to God this question comes: what does God want me do? How can I live deeper into my faith. Thinking back to yesterdays reflection and building relationships with Jesus and community, I know that there is more than sitting at home reading the Bible and praying. There is listening and going out into the world to advance God’s kingdom and do his work.
    It also reminds me of the song Motions by Matthew West which tells it’s not enough to go through the motions, We must be fully committed to do God’s work.

    I don’t wanna go through the motions
    I don’t wanna go one more day
    Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

    I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
    What if I had given everything
    Instead of going through the motions?

    No regrets, not this time
    I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
    Let Your love make me whole
    I think I’m finally feeling something

  2. Pamela Ann Quarstein on March 16, 2018 at 23:16

    M E R C Y
    M ake way for the Lord in
    E verything you do
    R estore, reconcile and love to
    C ommune with the Lord so that
    Y ou can feed Jesus’ lambs.

  3. Dianne on March 11, 2018 at 07:07

    I [the merciful & compassionate] wrote your name in my heart, and forever it will stay.~ Rumi

  4. Mary on March 9, 2018 at 23:32

    Jesus is all about restoration of relationship. And I love how Brother Lucas points out that loving him is not only a matter of words but of actions. We do not have to earn our way into the kingdom by doing good works, but out of an outpouring of love to him that created us, we want to serve. Lord, lead me to where I can be of greatest service to you. I’d like to make a lasting difference in this world. Sometimes I feel like a drop in the bucket. You are the ocean. Help me be successful in fulfilingl my – albeit small – role.

  5. David John Drew on March 9, 2018 at 01:14

    Lord Jesus, Shepherd of my Soul,

    Though to you, in my heart, I have vowed obedience, stability and conversion – and all that those values mean, it is with sadness and regret that I have so often been neglectful, cowardly and ran away from fulfilling them – of being true to you and myself. Yes Lord, I thought only of saving my own skin, avoiding confrontation, of finding a ‘hiding place’ and feeling safe from conflicts. I have denied you at times when it was more appropriate to claim my faith in you as my master and savior. Today, I ask for your forgiveness, to receive me back into your fold and your love.

    Jesus, my Destiny,

    I don’t often know what I am supposed to be doing. I feel a great emptiness within. I feel that I have failed in so many ways – in all that I have professed. I have fallen back on my old ways, my own means and habits… trying to accomplish the daily tasks of life on my own ingenuity and strengths. But, I know now and realize that you are my support, and there are times, when I least expect it, you appear to me to provide spiritual nourishment to my lagging soul. You arrive without warning to confirm within me that whatever I have done, and am doing – is according to your will. And that you are always present with me, and that the bond of love that connects us is made stronger.

    Jesus, my Teacher and Mentor,

    There is always the fact that I cannot see myself, I am not capable of evaluating my own potential or weaknesses, and I don’t want to claim anything for myself – to feed my ego. Only you can perform that, either in yourself, or through others in my life… to assess, recognize and identify what makes me who I am.

    Lord Jesus, you know that I spent the best years of my youth, all my vitality as a young man working in kitchens as a cook. In this respect, I am simple and uneducated – though you know better. I occupied myself with preparing, cooking and serving food, scrubbing the floors, cleaning, and polishing pots and pans, answering orders from all sides, and all the time wondering whether it was all worth it. In the end, as you know, I was washed out; burned and emptied out – through day after day of labor and struggling, for every meal that I gave out – it was consumed hungrily, and then I had to start out from the beginning again the next day. Everyday facing the burning heat, scalding water, salt and cuts. It was all too exhausting. I prayed to you every day for help to make it to the end, to end my boredom and pain. I was distraught, I thought it was a waste of my time – that there were better things I could do in your service… but you taught me humility when pride was my problem. You tempered and beat me down. I realized, reading the testimony of Br. Lawrence that I had to find satisfaction in the plain, ordinary and mundane – to find you in all the pots and pans of the kitchen. O Lord God, forgive me for not realizing that I was never nearer to in love you than when I labored in the kitchen… to know you in the depths of my soul simply by attending to the cooking of food for others.

    Jesus, my Master,

    You alone have taught me the true meaning of service, of catering for others. It is a supreme privilege always to care for others and be the hands that provide nourishment in hunger. Never did I question or ask about the faith or beliefs of those I have fed throughout my life… I simply gave unceasingly, all that was necessary, as you do also to all that come to you – without expectation of gratitude or thanks.

    I Fed your Hunger

    Unwittingly, and
    Unknowingly…
    No, you never realized…
    That first I gave
    You,
    A desire, a hunger…
    That forced your
    Return…
    To come back
    To me empty,
    And then,
    You and I
    Would be together
    Once again, and
    Meet
    At the table,
    Be gathered
    Around
    A bowl of broth
    Shared;
    And the loss
    We both experienced,
    Was satisfied
    In friendship.

    + Amen

    I prayer for all those who cook, and all those who eat. May we all realize how dependent we are on others for the necessities in life… how dependent we are on the Lord who provides everything we need. I pray for all the servants of Christ around the world who minister to those in need without complaint, and with a sense of love, asking nothing in return. Amen

    Pax Christi – David

  6. marta engdahl on March 7, 2018 at 23:18

    Dear Susan,

    I know, through my daughter, that “fighting cancer” is a rough, angry road.
    Yet, God’s love shines through it all, and will carry you forward as you and your friends greet each other. You do not know what burdens they carry; they do not know all that you have been through. God’s love will prevail, and I know they will be happy for you, proud of you, and join with you in your thanksgiving. Praise God! Our prayers are with you.

  7. James on March 7, 2018 at 21:25

    Jesus told Peter at the Last Supper that he would deny Him THREE times. So, I suppose in a way, Jesus is forgiving Peter by having Peter tell Him that he loves Him more than these THREE times. Peter denied the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then also told them that he loved them. One denial and confirmation of his love for each of the Trinity. The circle is complete and Peter can now go into the world to confess that restored love so that everyone may be saved. Peter now loves Jesus in word and action. Now it’s our turn.

    • Bishop Hollywood on March 7, 2018 at 22:36

      I believe that the issue is that people can’t truly accept the fact that God loves them unconditionally and want to forgive and have a relationship with them. Listen let’s be real, no matter what you have done in your life, if God didn’t love you, you wouldn’t be here right now. So that only shows us that God wants to have fellowship with us and loves us. We think of God’s love like we think of human love, whereas you have to do something to obtain it, and that my friends is the furthest thing from the truth. He loves unconditionally and wants the best for us, in this life and the next. So go to God, get back into fellowship with him and know that whatever we need, he’s right there to help us out.

      • David Jones on March 9, 2018 at 11:59

        Hello Bishop – Why do you say that God love us ? – I probably should be asking the monks but as you are Bishop………
        David

  8. Ruth West on March 7, 2018 at 06:38

    Dear Br. Lucas, I loved your message and the comments of your listeners.

    Br. Lucas, thank you for these good thoughts. How important to know that we truly love our Lord. As Peter had to repeat it three times, “yes, Lord, you KNOW that I love you,” so might we need to repeat it, not only to assure Him we are listening and loving, but to convince ourselves. At my age and with some physical limitations, I do not feed His lambs as well as I once could. But I pray that He will enable me day by day to do what I can. May God bless you and all your brothers in that sacred place. REW

  9. Jimmy on March 7, 2018 at 02:01

    Please help me Lord to always be fully awake and aware when there my be your lambs who are in need. Let me rid myself of my worldly ways and be the man you created. The love you have poured out to me Blesses my each and every day. May I be able to share your love with others with your help!

  10. Maureen on March 6, 2018 at 22:49

    Todays offering brought to mind the Catechism question “Why did God make you?” Answer: to know, love and serve Him. So Lord, forgive my forgetfulness, may Your mercy melt my self-centeredness whenever fear and uncertainty bind me. Attuned to Your loving Presence may I be of service throughout each day at home, in community. Namaste.

  11. JJ Troccoli on March 6, 2018 at 20:58

    Jesus is all forgiving. When God placed us on this Earth it was with flaws and free will. If we are diligent in following His guidance, our needs for forgiveness should be minimal.
    The unburdening of our sorrows through forgiveness are met with peace of mind and serenity. And further love and understanding of Jesus and God

  12. Bryan Cook on March 6, 2018 at 19:47

    In my journey with friends inside and beyond A.A, I learned of the importance of sharing personal experiences without fear of condemnation, retribution or comparison. It is ironic and the will of God that I took this route to learn and practise these values. I also learned the incredibly healing value of service. Service to others heals both them and myself….it is truely restorative. Service comes in many ways…..small deeds are as important as major efforts. I seize the opportunities to listen to others, to give to others, and to care for them and my family. Being a loving and caring parent even in the most difficult of times is in itself a feeding of lambs.

    • Margery Nettleton on March 6, 2018 at 21:22

      Love and relate to this reply. 12th Step Spirituality is a blessing.

  13. James Rowland on March 6, 2018 at 19:14

    “I was a stranger and you took me in”. For the past 7 years I have volunteered for a program called Family Promise–to help homeless families with children find a permanent place to live. I continue to do this and now a wonderfil new oportunity is emerging: Justice Knox, which will include 20 different congregations working with city govenment to provide affordable housing for the homeless in our area. Please pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit in this work. Jesus is here, in our town, walking our streets.

  14. Jennifer on March 6, 2018 at 18:30

    Please help me Lord to recognize when I have turned away from You and need to be brought back into close relationship with you. Help me to recognize and respond to those opportunities when I am called to feed your sheep.

  15. Susan on March 6, 2018 at 17:56

    I received an invitation to my 50th high school reunion yesterday. At first I was excited and then I remembered that I have no breasts. Lord it has only been 4 weeks! Please help me move on. I spent my whole life in your service. Forgive my vanity.

    • Rhode on March 6, 2018 at 18:51

      Dear Susan …when my mom discovered she had breast cancer at 58 she also openly mourned much more than the loss of her breasts. I watched her fight her fears of dying …her fears that the essence of her femininity and what remained of her youth was now lost and ruined. She turned her mourning into anger and her anger into prayer. We who knew her best knew that the woman who abided in Christ was so much more than her flesh. So much more than what she even thought she was. I was humbled by her strength and her faith. Her love fed all those around her. My mothers’ honesty in her weakness allowed Gods’ great love to show. You, too, shine beautifully in God’s love and will feed many lambs because of it. I hold you in my prayers.

    • Rhonda Koch on March 7, 2018 at 00:06

      Hi Susan
      Go, go ,go,and enjoy. Our Childhood friends, are just that, FRIENDS, and here to share in our Good times and
      not so good. They will pray with you, support you, and be there for you. this is a time for all of you, (us) to see God working in ways we do not understand, but know he knows best.

      Your vanity is not at work here, you are a women and we have been raised to feel our “breasts” make us that, but it is who we are on the inside, the color of our eyes, our smile, plus many more qualities that make us women. Have fun, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Rhonda

  16. John David Spangler on March 6, 2018 at 16:34

    Brother Lucas, thank you for the reminder of what it means to “Feed my lambs.”. I can only respond by joining Keith Aldred in asking our Lord to help us “in our relationships with others, to listen and respond with God’s love”, not with self-centered love.

  17. Keith Aldred on March 6, 2018 at 13:44

    Help us Lord in our relationships with others, to listen and respond with God’s love.

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