Feed My Sheep
Are you lost? Do you doubt? Do not despair. God has a plan for you!
Today, we celebrate the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul who demonstrate for each of us that whatever difficulty we are facing or no matter how ardently we deny the work of Christ in us, God will show us mercy, lead us to the path for which we were meant, and give us a measure of peace in and with Him.
Think about it like this. Peter denied Jesus (John 18:15-27). Yet it was he who was able to proclaim, "You are Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Mt 16:16-18). Paul persecuted Christians (Acts 8:3). Yet it was him who was able to say, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:19-20).
Christ made these men new. He showed them the path of repentance, which is filled with love and mercy.
"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.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17).
That is the point, isn't it? We are all called, in one way or another, to feed Christ's sheep. No matter what baggage we carry in life, no matter how many times we have fallen, we must seek Christ's forgiveness and ask for the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Then, we keep moving forward in humility, just as St. Paul did.
"Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe" (1 Cor 15:8-11).
By remembering Ss. Peter and Paul, we are also being reminded that without Christ we can do nothing. We are His, and He is ours. Let us cherish this very personal, very loving, extraordinarily sacrificial God who is eternal, incarnate, resurrected, ascended, ever present, filling all things, and the giver of earthly and heavenly life.
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An example of an icon of Ss. Peter and Paul, courtesy of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (goarch.org).