I was struck with this Gospel the other day, where Jesus asks Peter: “Simon son of John, Do you love me?” three times. Peter responds affirming, “Yes,” every time. (Jn 21:15-17)
That brought me to the scene where Jesus says to Peter: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” So it makes sense that Jesus asks Peter three times, not necessarily because three times was needed to forgive Peter but to let Peter know that it’s part of His will.
In a sense Jesus was being punny, yes punny, not funny. Jesus says, “You will deny me,” and “will” could seem to have the meaning of both an action and a noun. In the noun talking of God’s plan for Peter’s WILL!
Jesus was foretelling Peter’s future denial. So, when Peter realized that he ACTUALLY DID DENY Jesus (after he said he would never deny Him), he wouldn’t also run like Judas and turn away from Jesus; but rather, that he would fulfill God’s will for him in building the Church.
It wasn’t the number three that really stood out to me, but the fact that He asked multiple times. It brought to my thoughts the multiple times I deny God. How many times have I asked God for forgiveness after denying Him through sin, no matter how big or small or what the variety… The times I feel lazy, tired, frustrated, and even fearful?
And god asks me over and over every time I go to confession “Lazaro, my son, do you love me?”
I know that God literally forgets my sins after he forgives me, but I still find myself confessing most of the same sins every time. And I respond, “Yes, Lord” every time.
With this years theme of Fearless, I respond with a louder and more confident, “Yes LORD,” every time I see him in the Eucharist! Which, I’m blessed to say that, as a missionary, is everyday.
Join me in being fearless especially when the cock crows against our personal desires so that we can be led to God’s will.