Daily Reflection
May 13th, 2005

Robert P. Heaney

John A. Creighton University Chair
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Acts 25:13b-21
Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab
John 21:15-19

G. K. Chesterton wrote somewhere: “If you are to build a perfect society, start with imperfect people.” He must have gotten this insight from today’s Gospel passage. The resurrected Jesus gently but forcefully reminds Peter, on whom he will build his church, of his threefold denial just a few days earlier. And yet, after each reminder, he entrusts to Peter the responsibility of tending Jesus’ own flock.

We wouldn’t have done it that way. Instead, we would have been more inclined to say: “Peter proved himself unworthy, give the post to somebody else.” – thinking of the job as recognition or reward. If we needed to be reminded yet again, scripture tells us “God’s thoughts are not your thoughts.”

Peter must serve Jesus’ flock from the full, painful awareness of his own weakness. The strength he will need comes from Jesus, not from himself. And he must always remember that the flock is not his. “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” There is only one shepherd – Jesus. More to the point, Peter’s services will be expressed ultimately in the way he dies for the flock.

Most of us are not members of the clerical establishment, to whom this passage would seem most pointedly directed. But in a less formal sense, these words apply to all of us. We all are commissioned to serve other members of the flock, and we can do so not from our own strength but from God’s life in us. Recognition of our incapacity and sinfulness is a necessary first step for us, just as it was for Peter. But what a blessing it is to be commissioned despite our failures.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook