Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Sunday obligation?
What was it?
For my part…
… I said Mass at the chapel at NS Guantanamo Bay. I spoke to the congregation about the airplane that went into the river at Jacksonville and about blessings. I took a little time to explain the different kind of blessings that priests confer, namely constitutive (including consecrations) and invocative. Furthermore, I said that we should ask God to send down his blessings. When we ask, we receive. With great things we must ask, such as for miracles.
I stressed the need to GO TO CONFESSION! We don’t know when it is our time. It’s always someone else, until its you.
Then I spoke a bit about the long Gospel reading from John… this was Novus Ordo… the first Novus Ordo I’ve said in a loooong time, as it turns out. I described the arc of Peter’s life from the first miraculous to the second, the two charcoal fires, one at the Sanhedrin and one at the shore, the two sets of three denials. But also the fact that the Lord used a strong verb, poimaino, during his three-fold undoing of Peter’s denials, and even asked if Peter loved him more than the other apostles standing there. Remember that Christ had said that there was one Shepherd and one flock and that the Good Shepherd (which in the NO they hear next week) gives up his life for them. Then Christ predicts Peter’s death. The Shepherd will give His Body and Blood for his sheep, his very life. So, too, must Peter now do. He must give up his life. Remember that after the first miraculous catch of fish, when Peter first met Jesus, Jesus told him to leave off fishing for fish and that he now would fish for men. However, in John 21 Peters says, “I’m going fishing.” He’s not fishing for men, but for fish. Here is a kind of tabula rasa. But, more importantly, the Lord in this moment underscores that PETER is now to the one shepherd of the one flock. And, in so doing, and using the shepherding imagery, underscores an important element for Christian leaders. Leadership involves self-sacrifice, placing oneself in danger, seeking always the best of the other. That’s the work of the shepherd.