Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Rev 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
There was a story which I read from a book entitled, Chicken Soup for the Soul, authored by two great American writers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. The title of the story is, “The Circus.” It was told like this:
“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between the ticket counter and us. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12; you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean. The children were well behaved, all of them standing in line, two by two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to the circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives.
“The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hands, looking up at him as if to say, ‘You’re my knight in shining armor.’ He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her as if to reply, ‘You got that right.’
“The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly responded, ‘Please let me buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.’
“The ticket lady quoted the price.
“The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped; the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, ‘How much did you say?’
“The ticket lady again quoted the price.
“The man didn’t have enough money.
“How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?
“Seeing what was going, my dad put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground. We were not wealthy in any sense of the word! My father reached down, picked the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said: ‘Excuse me, sir, this feel out of your pocket.’
“The man knew what was going. He was not begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hands in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied: ‘Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.’
“My father and I went back to our car and drove home. We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without.”
A certain Dan Clark told this story. How about if we are on the same situation, can we do the same?
Our gospel today, Jesus asked Peter for three times: “Do you love me?” many would say that these three questions of Jesus are related to Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus in the night of His arrest. They see Peter’s affirmation of love. “Lord, you know that I love you,” as erasing his threefold denial of Jesus. In other words, it allows Peter to make amends for his past and to redeem himself.
My dear friends what is needed here is our “yes” to the love of Jesus and this must be our response to His love because we are loved people. He loves us. We can respond to His love by loving Him too, but in what way? It is by loving others. I’m hoping that loving others because God loves us becomes our guiding Christian principle.
To end my sharing, let us reflect on this story again from the same two authors that I mentioned a while ago. The title of the story is: The Shoes. As Gandhi stepped aboard a train one day, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track. He was unable to retrieve it as the train was moving. To the amazement of his companions, Gandhi calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the tack to land close to the first. Asked by a fellow passenger why he did so, Gandhi smiled: “The poor man who will find the shoe lying on the track,” he replied, “will now have a pair he can use.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C