Eastertide week 7, Acts 25, 13-21; Jn 21, 15-19
Imagine that the encounter of Jesus with Peter took place in a quiet place just as the sun was setting. A gentle breeze provided an air of peace and serenity. The encounter was between two close friends. Whatever may have happened in the past was on hold. The presence of God wafted through the air, real but not intrusive. It was a profound and enriching moment for both of them. The love Jesus and Peter had for each other was evident. It was fundamental to their relationship from the beginning. Although the dialogue and questions are important, the real purpose of the encounter was to verify their love for each other and show that they shared the same purpose: to reveal the love of God to people and enable that love to reshape and mould their loves into a similar relationship with God.
Basically, Jesus asked Peter to care for his followers and the early Christians in a service of love. In other words, Jesus asked Peter to replace him. Service is understood in many ways. For Jesus it spoke of honour, dignity and divine value. But, in order not to confuse, Jesus uses other words: look after, care for our family as a shepherd cares for his flock. This kind of service carries with it the highest honour and took the name Christian.
‘The human person, the heart of peace with all of creation.’ Pope Benedict XVI.
In his Encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed.” Responding to this charge entrusted to them by the Creator, men and women join in bringing about a world of peace.
Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists a “human” ecology, which in turn demands a “social” ecology. If it truly desires peace, humanity must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human co-existence, and vice versa. It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men - both presuppose peace with God. The Canticle of Brother Sun, by Saint Francis, is a wonderful and ever timely example of this multi-faceted ecology of peace.
by Fr Thomas O'BRIEN a.a