Today’s Gospel relates the story of how Jesus revealed himself to the disciples after the resurrection. He found them by the sea, the place they were used to in their past life, so to speak. He spoke of forgiveness despite the rejection they made Him suffer on top of the pains of the cross. He even strengthened Simon Peter, the one who denied him three times. If that isn’t forgiveness, then I don’t know what is.
Our priest gave a homily on three main points:
1. Forgiveness is the best thing that you could give and receive.
2. The only allowable competition is who can love the most.
3. Love is the constant qualification in every charge / task / assignment.
On the first point, when the priest said this, I immediately thought, well, what about love? But then again, I thought about it, and I realized that it really is a different feeling to be forgiven. A person needs forgiveness the most when he or she feels that he or she no longer has a face to show, when one is drowning in shame and lack of self-esteem, when one has completely wronged another. When one receives forgiveness as a gift, one feels unworthy–who is this who accepts me in spite of myself, of who I am and who I am not? Forgiveness is the best gift because it is a redemption both of the one forgiven and the one who forgives–from unworthiness to a state of acceptance; from the state of constant anger to attainment of peace of mind.
On the second point, the model for who can love the most is, of course, Jesus Himself; hence, the kind of love required here is not the unhealthy kind of “love.” The goal is not really to outdo others in terms of who loves the best–the goal is to outdo ourselves in this regard.
On the last point, genuine concern is needed to be the best at what one does. It really shows when something is done from the heart. And I guess we could also connect with this a familiar adage: There are no small parts, only small actors.
This was originally written yesterday, 15 April 2013, 830 PM.