There is the story of a man going to monk to ask him how to grow in the relationship with Jesus. The monk asked him to go down to a lake. When they got into the water the monk pushed the man under the water. After a minute or so he helped him up. When the visitor recovered the monk said: “You will grow in your relationship with God when you desire God as much as you desired air when I kept you under the water.” Now you can see that Peter wasn’t out of mind. But he desired Jesus so much that he had only one thing on his mind – TO JOIN HIS MASTER ON THE LAKE SHORE. If somebody is drowning he doesn't think about being graceful or about presenting himself in an impressive manner. He simply wants to get to the surface. He wouldn’t care what he would like if somebody recorded him on an I Pad or a cell phone. Peter didn’t care about what people could say of him he wanted TO BE WITH HIS MASTER.
Dear Friends of Christ!
Now let us ask a more spiritual question. What created this strong desire for Jesus in Peter? Well if it were up to me I would choose another passage for the first reading for this Sunday. It would be taken from Genesis. It would be about what happened when the first parents sinned. The Holy Scripture says that they hid. Their guilt got better of them. Peter from today’s Gospel shows us
that there is another way to deal with guilt, with sin. Peter goes to Jesus. In one of the reflections we’ve been given lately it was written that every person longs for being loved. In his sin Peter still discovered that he wanted to be loved, not that he deserved to be loved but that he wanted to be loved. That why he was swimming the Lake of Galilee, fully dressed, not as a mad man but as a saint. As the one who depends on God’s love for him. A priest was once teaching children Catechism and he asked them how a saint can be described. A little child very innocently answered: “A saint is somebody who doesn’t need to go to confessions anymore!” I would hate to be in the position of the priest as it is a daunting thing to say to a child that it is not right. We can see where the child comes from, that a saint is like a hero who is perfect through and through. But if we can set off on this journey to become saints ourselves we wouldn’t go far having such a plan. What we need to know that there is God whose love for us is called mercy. It means that he loves us not because we are perfect but because without his love we will have a dysfunctional life. Hiding ourselves all the time like Adam and Eve did or ending up in such despair like Judas.
Let me finish with a message I believe is an important one to hear not just for us but for all people: When Peter got to Jesus an unexpected thing happened. Jesus showed Peter that in his, Peter’s heart, the heart of coward and betrayer there was still love for Jesus. It doesn’t matter how messed up your life may be, how big your sins may be you, how much physical, emotional, psychological, moral and spiritual pain you experience can still love Jesus. YOU CAN.