In recent weeks we stood helpless and sad. There was the fire in Notre Dame and then those terror attacks in Sri Lanka. If we knew no one personally, then we were at an emotional distance. We wondered, “Why God?” After all this was his own church, his own people. But we, those from the distance, did not get angry or blame God. It was a “stray flame” and “an act of terror”. We accept that these events were consequences of some people’s actions. We sought God in the aftermath.
However when events become personal our human self cannot stay at that emotional distance. Many things do happen to us as a consequence of both other people’s actions and our own. When there is a storm in my life I have a tendency to blame God, “If you are God why do you allow this to happen (to me)?” Maybe I am not fully aware that I feel a self-entitlement in life. In my desperation I cry out, “Where are you God?”
Storms do pass. When they do they leave us tired, hollow and empty. Our sky is clearing up after a heavy storm but it is still dark. But we live. Inside us we tell ourselves it is going to be a new day. Hope fills up part of that nothingness. Hope is like a light in the darkness. At the dawn of a new day, it is like a charcoal fire in the distant on the beach.
“Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.”
We will see God in the aftermath of a storm. We find him in the consolation after the disaster, we feel him in the unity of the people coming together. When storms become personal we must sought for him in the people around us. God act and answer us through the people he has placed in our life. It is in each other that the fire of hope glows. We are inter-linked by the consequences of our action, good or bad. But our God is a God to everyone and for everyone. In a way only He knows, He will always restore each of us individually.
In Him there is always forgiveness for our actions that led to bad consequences. There is no judgement, only unconditional love. He gave everyone a freedom to choose our ways, and that freedom includes believing in Him. God will always be there to pick up the pieces and restore them. On that beach he picked up the three denials of Peter to not only restore but empower each of those, “Feed my lamb, look after my sheep, feed my sheep”.
God shows us the way to live, the way to true freedom. It is not a transaction of good behavior and reward. His unconditional love is offered to restore every person. His way is the only safe passage through our storms in life. With that safe passage comes the reward of true joy, fulfilment and peace which we so desperately seek for in life. His way is open to everyone regardless of the times we choose to deny him. We only have to “Follow me”.
3rd Sunday of Easter