Yes, a thousand times yes!
18 May 2018
Have you ever wondered why Jesus asks the Apostle Peter “Do you love me“ three times in the Gospel of John?
Jesus doesn’t ask the same question over and over again because he’s hard of hearing or slow to comprehend Peter’s answers. The fact is that Jesus asks Peter three times is significant.
If you recall, right before Jesus crucifixion, Peter denied even knowing Jesus let alone being one of his closest disciples. However, when Jesus appears to the disciples after his resurrection, He brings forgiveness, not retribution.
The triple interrogation to which Jesus submits Peter matches – and heals – the threefold denial.
It may be hard to forgive, but sometimes it can be harder to accept forgiveness. The ability to believe we are forgiven is crucial to our spiritual growth. This was the defining difference between Peter and Judas. Vacillating Peter went from the shame of his threefold denial of Christ to become the rock on which Christ’s church was founded.
Three times Peter responds that he loves Jesus, and in doing so, Peter experiences Jesus’ love, forgiveness, healing, and mercy. Jesus makes all things new, and at that moment, he makes Peter new too.
Judas could not contemplate the possibility of forgiveness. He, who had heard Christ say that one must forgive seventy times seven, could not bring himself to ask Christ to forgive him. Instead, he died in despair.
When we sin, we need to admit it and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness. As Pope Francis likes to say, “The Lord never tires of forgiving.” But once our sins are forgiven, we have to remember them precisely as that – as sins forgiven.
Lord, grant that we may never cease asking for forgiveness.