Sunday, April 14, 2013

Looking Ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

People often say: "Everyone deserves a second chance." Peter gets that second chance today — or I should say, another second chance. But even more than that, he gets the chance to set things right, all at the invitation of Jesus.

Having just celebrated the Passion of Christ a few weeks ago, this point is fresh in our mind. In a moment when Peter was — as so often was the case — full of himself, he professed that he would even die for Jesus. But in fact, in Jesus' moment of need, he denied even knowing him — and not just once, but three times.

Jesus words left Peter bereft: "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice." And so it was. But at the very end of the Gospel of John in his final chapter, Jesus asks Peter three times: "Do you love me?" Three times, like the triple denial, Peter is given the chance to — one, two, three times — proclaim his love for the Lord. This kind of thing only seems to happen in the movies — everything gets set straight.

The happy ending indeed takes place. All things are restored, and Shakespeare's words ring true: "All's well that ends well." In a very deep sense that is the message of Easter itself. Imagine it: from death comes life — and not just life, but eternal life. There is a great message here that comes from Jesus, is verified by the life of Jesus, and simply belongs to Jesus. Jesus the Christ teaches us that in himself the human and divine did indeed come together — they became one.

There is a lot of mystery and grace involved, but the fact is that Jesus brings together seeming opposites and profound truth and not only speaks it but lives it. Jesus gives us the chance to set things right not just for today, but forever!

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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