Reflection for 12th Sunday after Trinity
Peter is at the centre of last week’s and this week’s gospel. Last week he was the bright-eyed boy who declared Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, so got lots of affirmation for that. He must have been very pleased with himself. This week, it’s the opposite. He gets rebuked. It must have been very confusing for him, feeling that he can’t get anything right. It is difficult for him and his friends because they only know part of the story. As they are in the story and watching it unfold and eventually get out of their control. It is bad enough to only know part of the story but when things unravel with Jesus being arrested, their characters are put to the test, and we know Peter let himself down by denying Jesus.
We, on the other had know the full story; we have the benefit of having the Gospels and the letters in the New Testament. If we have any doubt we are reminded by Paul to the Romans what genuine love is; there is genuine love where this is mutual affection, showing honour, zeal, service, patience, prayer, generosity, forgiveness, hospitality, empathy, compassion, humility and restraint. Elsewhere, in Galatians 5:22, Paul spells them out again as the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Genuine love is a decision to cultivate and grow into a life in the spirit. Unlike Peter, we know the whole story. He had to learn the hard way by hitting rock bottom, by exposing his worst self; capable of betraying the one he loved. How did he come back from that? How could he face his friends and face himself after that?
The self-loathing he felt must have been extreme; like anyone else who hits rock bottom you fall back on God’s grace and mercy. Peter encountered the Risen Lord and so repaired the relationship. People who experience addictions find the twelve steps a useful ladder out of their addiction by placing their trust in a higher power. Step 5 of the 12-step process says the person as to admit to God/Higher Power, ‘to oneself and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.’
I want to share with you a charter for spiritual growth. It is an agreement or a covenant you make with yourself and so putting others and God into a genuine perspective.
Charter for Spiritual Growth.
I have a basic human right to make myself well and to sustain my well being. I have the right to protect my psychological and spiritual self. Forgiveness is a choice, a decision I make everyday. I choose God’s remedy of forgiveness over every other way. God’s remedy says ‘if you want to heal your heart forgive; if you want to live again, forgive.’ I have the God given right to heal my heart. I choose to live by God’s creative word; I am God’s temple! Whatever is blocking my path to wholeness I ask the Holy Spirit to melt me, mold me, fill me, and use me to radiate compassion to all who journey with me on the way. This is my mantra ‘Jesus I thank you I am precious in your father’s sight’. This is my big idea ‘I am good enough being the person I am today’
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