DEEPLY IN LOVE
"When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea." – Jn. 21:7
Simon Peter was deeply in love with Jesus. He had not too long ago denied Jesus three times during Jesus' final hours. Although Peter felt bitterly guilty about his denials, it did not prevent him from jumping out of the boat half-naked and swimming towards Jesus when Jesus reappeared on the shores of Tiberias. The other disciples were more contained with their response waiting instead for the boat to arrive at the shore. Perhaps Peter had an insight to how crazy in love Jesus was with him despite all his shortcomings that elicited Peter's own crazed response at the sight of Jesus.
When I have wronged someone, my natural response is avoidance. I feel ashamed, close in on myself, and become self-conscious. My world in relation with that person becomes stagnant and smaller. This is even more so with the realization that the offense is also a distancing from God. I shift my attention away from God's unconditional love for me and towards the false spirit’s voice that speaks of my unworthiness. I continue to wrestle with my inherent imperfections. I cannot avoid the fact that I will continue to offend, hurt, and love imperfectly. But how do I respond each time I fall short? Do I shrink into myself and become self-focused? Or do I run to the outstretched arms of Jesus who is deeply in love with me?
It is God's love that allows me to choose to lovingly respond. God's deep love can move me beyond myself. Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ says when we choose to fall in love with God in an absolute, final way, it will decide everything. For Simon Peter, falling in love with Jesus compelled him to jump into the sea half-naked, lead the disciples, build Jesus' church, and die for him. How will falling deeply in love with Jesus who is deeply in love with us decide what we do?
St. Peter, you who knew so well Jesus’ unconditional love for you and modeled how to respond to His love, pray for us.