From the Desk of the Pastor
Being the second oldest of five boys in my family meant growing up I was always wearing my older brother’s clothes after they got too small for him. It also meant that my younger brother would wear the same clothes after I grew and it was the same for the next brother and so on down the line. My brothers and I actually didn’t mind wearing the hand-me-downs, especially if it was a sports jersey that we liked. We couldn’t wait until the older brother grew out of it and it was time for us to get it. But in wearing these hand-me-downs, it always came with a price as sooner or later one of us would put a hole in the clothes. My mom would try to preserve them the best she could by putting patches on the holes and a lot of times after I was done with the clothes it was usually more patches than cloth. That’s when my mom would buy new clothes even if my brothers and I didn’t want her to.
Sometimes in our lives, we need people to point out to us that it is time for something new. That the patches don’t work anymore. Where if we keep on patching things, or go through the motions in life, things won’t get better. We may need a different perspective and do something new.
Saint Peter is a great witness to this. Throughout the gospels, we hear about both his zealous and sinful heart. He was first to proclaim Jesus as God, but also denied the very instrument Jesus wanted to use to show his love: the cross. Peter could not cope with death and suffering as the best way to salvation. He wanted to fix the problem of death on the cross with patches and did not allow Jesus to confront his own fears of death. Saint Peter’s patchwork did not work and we know this ultimately in his betrayal of denying Jesus on the cross.
His patchwork continued even after the resurrection as he tried to patch his heart by going back to his old way of living; he went back to fishing. It was only at the end of John’s Gospel in chapter 21 when he finally surrenders and accepts Jesus’ Mercy, love, and peace that helped him to move forward in his fears. It was only when he realized he needed a new heart that it gave him the room to accept those gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was after receiving his new heart that he was able to say lovely without point fingers in judgment what we hear in the first reading today “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. Please know that!! How do we fill that void? How do we cope with disappointments, suffering, boredom, our own and other people’s weakness, and sins? Do we try to fix them on our own with patching? If so, Jesus is calling us to something new, he is calling on us to accept his love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. He calls us to his deeper love and a different perceptive in life.
We need to prayerfully examine ourselves regularly to see if God is calling us to change. We need to pray and ask for help to accept any changes He might ask from us. Through our baptism, we became a new creation and we are called to a life of renewal, so that means no more patching. We are called to fast from hatred, fast from injustice, fast from judgment, and from anything that prevents us from becoming the best that God has called us to be. We are called to accept this personal encounter with Jesus and allow him in our lives more and more so that others stop seeing our patched hearts and only see his perfect one.