Forgive and You Will be Forgiven Week 11 - Peter Sums It Up

(May 1, 2022)

Bottom line: Today, as we conclude this series on forgiveness, we see that Peter sums it...When we accept Jesus' forgiveness as Peter did, then like him we forgive and love others.

This is the final homily in our eleven week series on forgiveness: Forgive and you will be forgiven. It's appropriate that we conclude with Peter's three-fold confession of love. "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"..."Yes, Lord, you know I love you."

If you remember, Peter had denied Jesus three times. He had bragged that even if everyone else abandoned Jesus, he would never abandon him. When the danger came, Peter, with an oath, said "I don't know the man!" One of the worst things any of us can is to deny that we know Jesus. He has done so much for us and then out of cowardice, we pretend we don't know him. Jesus had done so much more for Peter including giving him the keys to kingdom of heaven so he could govern the Church. Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, which means "rock". Some rock. Trembling before a serving girl, he says, "I don't know the man!" We've have some bad popes in the history of the Church. Of the 266 popes in our history, about twenty you could classify as extraordinarily evil. Yet none was as weak as Peter. Perhaps Jesus chose him for that very reason.

You've heard the saying, "No chain is stronger than its weakest link." The Catholic Church will last until the end not because of the strength of men, but because of Christ who strengthens us. Jesus made Peter the greatest example of forgiveness. Jesus could have said, "sorry, Peter. I need someone more reliable. John stuck with me at the foot of the cross. I'm taking the keys away from you and entrusting them to John." Jesus didn't do that.

Notice how Jesus welcomes Peter and the other disciples: "When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire.." Remember that Peter was warming himself near a charcoal fire when he denied Jesus. Now, Jesus builds a charcoal fire not to rub it in, but to underscore that he is giving Peter a second chance, a new beginning. "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" Peter doesn't swear an oath. He simply says, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you!" Jesus repeats the invitation two more times.

To Peter's confession of love, Jesus says, "Feed my sheep." That's how Peter proves his love - not by big words, but by small actions, daily actions. While I was in Peru, I had opportunity to observe shepherds. They had to constantly stay alert. Of course, they could engage in quiet activities such as contemplating nature or thinking about their lives. But if they got caught up in things like getting drunk or scrolling an iPhone, they could endanger the sheep. Tending sheep is a 24 hour a day job like being a parent or a priest or a single person dedicated to serving others.

It's not easy to be a shepherd. Let's face it. All sheep are troublesome some of the time. And some sheep are troublesome all of the time. You know who are. To be a shepherd means to be like Peter: to humbly accept Jesus forgiveness and be ready to forgive others.

Next Sunday is Mother's Day. I'll begin a new series titled, "As I have loved you." For most of us, mothers are the greatest example of love, in the way they shepherd the flock that Jesus entrusts to them. That sometimes involves gently shepherding the dad so he will take his leadership role. And leadership, shepherding, always involves forgiveness.

Peter is the great model of forgiveness. His fall is greater than yours and mine, because he stood at greater heights. But he did not allow his shame to lead him to despair. Yes, he denied Jesus three times. But then Jesus invites him to make a three-fold declaration of love. And tells him to show his love by tending and caring for Jesus' sheep - and that involves daily forgiveness.

Here's the point for you and me: When we accept Jesus' forgiveness as Peter did, then like him we forgive and love others. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Amen.


“Simón, hijo de Juan, ¿me amas?”…“Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te quiero”. 

"No conozco al hombre"

“Ninguna cadena es más fuerte que su eslabón más débil”

Tan pronto como saltaron a tierra, vieron unas brasas

“Simón, hijo de Juan, ¿me quieres?”… “Señor, tú lo sabes todo; tú bien sabes que te quiero”. 

“Pastorea mis ovejas”

Como yo los he amado

Cuando aceptamos el perdón de Jesús, entonces como Pedro perdonamos y amamos a otros.

From Archives (Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle C):

2019: Come, Have Breakfast
2016: First Priority
2013: Tend My Sheep
2010: The Readiness is All
2007: I Am Going Fishing
2004: Obey God Rather Than Men
2001: Do You Love Me?
1998: Keeping the Boat in Good Condition

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru