CHOOSE TODAY WHO YOU WILL FOLLOW – GOD OR THE WORLD
📕Acts 5:27b-32, 40b-41; Psalm 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12 and 13b (R.v.2a); Rev 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
🎤CHOOSE TODAY WHO YOU WILL FOLLOW – GOD OR THE WORLD
Last Sunday, we celebrated the Divine Mercy Sunday, in which we recounted the enormous love which God has for us and wants to spread through us. Next Sunday, we shall be celebrating the Good Shepherd Sunday, in which we shall be recounting God’s tender care which does not fade away despite our obvious weaknesses. In between these two celebrations, we are invited to reflect on the crises that might confront all those who believe and follow Christ. These crises can make them to stop following Christ depending on how they are able to understand and manage them.
The lives of Peter and the other apostles are presented to us to press home the message. Recall that when Jesus was arrested, all his disciples deserted him. Even Peter, who was the last man standing, denied him 3 times (cf. Mark 14:66-70) after promising to defend Jesus with his life (cf. Mark 14:29-31).
The Gospel today begins with a scene that shows them going back to their old way of life (cf. John 21:3), which Jesus had earlier taken them from (cf. Matt 4:18-22). This can be seen as a loss of faith and hope in Jesus, hence a departure from the life he prepared for them. The consequence of that action was that their venture became unsuccessful – they toiled all night without a catch (cf. John 21:3) because they made a departure from Jesus.
Who do we turn to when life becomes difficult for us? What normally becomes our disposition when the only way to success that stare us in the face is that which leads to sin/doom? Do we follow the way and then abandon Christ? From the experience of the apostles, we can see that that option of abandoning Jesus does not lead to any success but a union with him does (see John 21:5-6).
If it happened that you had abandoned Jesus in the past in search of solutions elsewhere, all hope is not lost. Come back to Jesus and profess your love for him, he will reform you and even refurbish you better than you were. Look at what he did with Peter in the Gospel! Did you notice that he did not make any reference to Peter’s betrayal? That is not an omission by the evangelist. It only tells us that God is not interested in recounting our sins. He is more interested in having us reconcile to him. Hence, he simply asked Peter, “Do you love me…?”
Answering that question in affirmation was all Jesus needed in order to confirm Peter’s position as the leader of his flock after him and to strengthen his will against opposition. The testimony of that is what the First Reading reports about them. Imagine the once timid and illiterate Peter, who could not withstand the threat of a young maid (cf. Mark 14:29-30) could now stand before the leaders and learned of the society and tell them the plain truth, even the ones that implicate them.
My dear, Peter tasted both the life with Christ and life without Christ and so made the bold statement, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). What of you? What have you resolved to do – to follow Christ or to follow the world?
If you choose to follow Christ, he will lift you up as the psalmist testified in the Responsorial Psalm today (cf. Ps 30:2, 4). Then, you shall join myriads and thousands who, John saw in the Second Reading, rejoicing and praising the Lamb in the end.
So, if you are ready to follow him join me in making this solemn declaration for Jesus: “Lord, I repent from all my sins against you with all my heart. Do not allow me to separate myself again from you. Help me to love you at all times. Do with me whatever you will. Amen.”
Have a beautiful Sunday garnished by spiritual renewal. Peace be with you.