GOSPEL MESSAGE & RECORDING
At the last defining moments of Jesus’ life, he stood before the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jewish people at that time) to be falsely condemned and put to death. During those agonizing moments, the second person in command, Peter, who, in the absence of Jesus, was in charge of the disciples and the whole Christian movement, was found denying that he had ever known Jesus to individuals who questioned him about his affiliation to Jesus Christ. This came as no surprise to Jesus, for he knew the weaknesses and fears that Peter struggles with. Despite this, Christ saw the great potential that Peter had in his contribution toward the leadership of the early Church. This was demonstrated when Christ asked Peter if he loved him three times, an obvious repercussion for Peter’s denial of Christ.
Christ asked Peter three times if he loved him. (John 21: 15-19) And each time Peter answered by saying yes. But Christ gave an added exhortation, almost as though he wanted a greater commitment from Peter. Christ asked Peter to “feed his sheep.” We know in hinge sight that Peter did indeed “feed the believers” of the early church with his ministry, life and death.
Christ asks the leaders of today’s Orthodox Church “feed my faithful.” But in another way, he challenges the faithful of the Orthodox Church to feed each other…feed our families…feed our the society that we live in.
Let’s examine that further:
Feed each other: how can we feed each other? I am not talking about food, but rather, how are we can encourage each other in conversation and uphold each other in prayer. The point is to be a consistent agent of love where we are feeding each other with the Word of God and the Words of the Holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church.
Feed our families: What are we feeding our families? Life is short and the opportunity to impart in our children the blessed virtues of our faith is getting harder. If such is the case, then we should feed our families the food that does not perish, that is, the Word of God, prayer, fasting, love and forgiveness. Sports and extracurricular activities of all sorts never trump the “food” that we can provide by involving our children and ourselves in the life of the church.
Feed our society: as a mission we are called to be the light in the darkness. To run toward, not run away from the problems that our society is facing. God is giving us opportunities to feed into the society the Words of Christ and demonstrate his love. We are called to run away from the sin, not the sinner. In so doing, speak truth to power to all those who will listen.