Third Sunday of Easter – Deacon Andy Grebe

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me…Today’s psalm response. What did it make you think about?

For me it was easy. The response made me remember all of the times in my life when I felt trapped, frustrated, so down and depressed by the situation that I found myself in that I couldn’t see a way out.

Have you ever been there?

  • So frustrated by circumstances that you just wanted to pull the covers up over your head and not even get out of bed…
  • So afraid of what was going to happen next that you just wanted to hide from the world…
  • So unsure of yourself and your abilities that you turned to some vice to help you get through the day…

It’s not any fun when you are feeling that way, but I know that I’ve been there at times and I’m sure that many of you have probably been there once or twice yourself.

But as you look back and think about those times do you ever stop to think how you got through them?

I can tell you from personal experience I’ve been through enough of those times that I finally came to realize that it was God who rescued me each and every time. It was God who showed me that I didn’t need to know how I would get through any of those situations, I just needed to trust that He would rescue me,  AND HE ALWAYS DID!

And isn’t that the same message that we heard in today’s Gospel?

The disciples had been out fishing all night with nothing to show for their efforts. Now, remember we’re not talking about the kind of fishing trip that those of us fortunate enough to live in Clifton Park go on. You know, a fishing trip more for relaxation than anything else. No, the fishing trip that the disciples were on was about earning a living, it was how they lived it was how they ate. When they didn’t catch anything their lives were in jeopardy.

And, when they came ashore, tired from working all night, not sure where their next meal was coming from, Jesus was there to rescue them.

When we think about today’s scriptures, especially in light of Pope Francis’ exhortation “The Joy of Love” which was released on Friday I think we are being given an opportunity to see the rescuing love of Jesus and God in a totally new way. Pope Francis has given us a new way to look at the world, a new way to look at each other recognizing that we are all different, AND that we all need to be rescued…We need to realize that we are all called to be compassionate to those who don’t necessarily live the same way that we do. As I read some excerpts from the Pope’s exhortation and many of the articles that I have seen (sorry, I just don’t read fast enough to read and understand 264 pages in one night), the message that we are being called to rescue each other, to be compassionate and to love those who for too many years have been separated from the church because of civil divorce and remarriage, or living in same-sex relationships is pretty clear. He told us we must make them feel a part of the church…He told us to rescue them!

As I reflected on today’s scriptures and the Pope’s document I couldn’t help but to be reminded of my own short comings, my own sins and I couldn’t help but to be grateful for the many times that Jesus and God have rescued me AND for the many times that other people have been there to rescue me.

None of us are perfect, and we are all sinners.

  • How many times has God rescued you?
  • How many times has some one forgiven you?
  • How grateful are you for the times that God has rescued you?

Now think about how you respond to the people you encounter every day.

  • Do you do for them what Jesus did for his disciples on the seashore?
  • Do you do what Jesus does for each of us when we sin?
  • Do you try to rescue them?

Remember, we all make mistakes in life, but that doesn’t mean that we should pay for them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes good people make ungodly choices, it doesn’t mean that they are ungodly. It means that they are human.