The Third Sunday of Easter
The Word: Acts 5:27-41 ("We must obey God rather than men")
(Parallel reading, Daniel 1:1 - 3:88: Rack, Shack, & Benny)
Revelation 5:11-14 (from whence the finale from Handel's Messiah is taken)
John 21:1-19 (Sunday Breakfast; Peter recants his triple denial with a three-fold affirmation of his love for Jesus)
Whoa! This afternoon I realized that I haven't posted a thing in two months!
I suppose I could have posted something sooner. I had a couple of flash moments that caught me in a receptive mood, but by the time I could get to my laptop I had real trouble articulating what struck me as meaningful. (It's hard to blog during Mass or worship services!)
One such 'gotcha' came to me about a week ago. It was before the April 15 deadline for filing income tax returns in America, and there was still talk about the recession, unemployment and all things financial. Everyone seemed to be talking about financial red ink - and the moment transferred itself from the secular world to the spiritual. A place where 'red ink' could easily refer to blood. How great was that 'red ink'! An outpouring that canceled humanity's debt and allowed us all to live 'in the black' with God!
Okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch as far as symbolism goes.
Somewhere in my string of posts (check the archives) I did a reflection on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (aka Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael); better known to fans of the Veggie Tales series as Rack, Shack, and Benny. While mindlessly folding laundry yesterday, I popped this video into my DVD player, not knowing the subject matter would come back today.
The adaptation lent itself to an Easter theme of sorts. Our heroes are ordered to bow before a giant chocolate bunny as employees of Mr. (Nebuchad)Nezzer's factory, something they simply won't do; just like the post-pentecostal Apostles won't stop teaching, preaching, exhorting, and evangelizing about Jesus. Just believing in something doesn't remove you from troubles or obstacles; in many cases, those beliefs can be their source. Hmmm...
On the other hand, I really liked the concept of the "Sunday breakfast business meeting" Jesus held with the Apostles, and most notably Peter, along the Sea of Tiberias.
It's interesting to note that the usually placid and pastoral John manages to give himself some credit. The youngest of the Twelve refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved"; he summons up enough courage to stand at the foot of his Master's cross and receive the commission to attend to Mary as his own mother; he is the first of the apostles to arrive at the empty tomb and believes immediately; and in this passage, recognizes Jesus onshore while they're in the boat a football-field's length away. Yet, his one-upsmanship is subtle. John recognizes Peter as the next-in-command. He waits for Peter to get to the tomb before he witnesses the scene for himself; and in this passage, once John recognizes Jesus (man, was his eyesight good!) Peter takes over by jumping out of the boat half-naked and swims ashore to meet him.
John goes one step further in demonstrating the depths of reconciliation. Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" Not once, but three times. By the third time, we can anticipate that the Master has gotten under Peter's skin just enough to make his response a bit irritated. Why do you keep asking when you know everything?
Yeah, it's those special moments that endears Peter to me all the more. And if a blustery, hapless soul like Peter can be given the keys to the executive washroom, not to mention Paradise, at a simple breakfast business meeting, there's deep, genuine, and sincere hope for all of us.