"Restore us, God; look on us with favor, and we will be saved."
The Holy Gospel reading on third Sunday after Easter is from St. John 21: 15-19. This Scripture teaches Jesus Threefold Restoration of St. Peter. Jesus allowed St. Peter to AFFIRM his love the best he could and ACCEPTED St. Peter as he was. Here, Jesus reduced the shame of St. Peter and RESTORED the relationship. When St. Peter answers, “You know tat I love You” . He uses the term PHILO ( Greek ) , a lesser form akin to brotherly affection. For Jesus’ third repeated question , "Do you love Me", St. Peter was grieved and Said: “Lord You know everything! You know that I love You." This teaches that St. Peter developed AGAPE ( Greek) , the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, THE SACRIFICIAL LOVE, THE DIVINE LOVE. St. Peter’s final answer is the way we follow in Christian life. Then Jesus said to St Peter: "Feed My sheep……..when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old , you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish ……Follow Me." Remember, Jesus spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. St. Peter eventually accept Martyrdom, crucified upside down, under Nero in about AD 67. for the sacrificial , unconditional, divine love for Jesus.
I want share two points.
1. True Self Knowledge.
The word “Restoration” means the action of returning something to a former owner, place or condition. Biblical concepts of Restoration are examined and Scriptural Themes are filled with rich images of healing and restoration. Psalms 34: 7-8 says: “ The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. Taste and see the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Now a days, everyone is feeling overwhelmed by the job, finance, sickness and the condition between life and death. This upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. “ON VANISHING” by Lynn Casteel Harper argues that society needs a better approach to understand and care for people who are suffering cognitive decline. This attitude can relieve faces of Mental health crisis. To restore balance in life, physically and mentally and spiritually we need our Trust in God Almighty. This will restore with positive approach, set clear boundaries, make concrete plan and make sure we keep moving. In the midst of heart broken moments, desperate fears pulled us into a pit of fear and despair results our tears pouring down our face and rubbing our face. Remember, Our spiritual awakening and our waking emotions playing out in our sleeping subconscious, moves to wake up in life and opens a strange sense of calm and safely washes over us. It makes room for peace rather than the fear and stress.
2. Spiritual Consolation.
Devote our moments of solitude exclusively to work in virtues, pray and thought of God. Remember, GRACE WORKS SECRETLY. Psalms 2: 11 says: “ Serve the Lord with reverential awe, and rejoice with trembling.” We can be delighted because of hope and feeling of joy and consolation.
“ Wow Good”, and that is a right answer and brought a modern sensibility to recent epidemic. We are focused towards advanced directives for our healthy life . Job 42: 10 says: "...Lord restored his prosperity and doubled his previous possessions.” Since God answes our prayers IN UNEXPECTED WAY, NEVER GIVE UP ON PRAYERS. When a train goes through a tunnel and it goes dark , we don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. We sit still and trust the driver. So, Trust God all times, no matter how dark our situation is. 2 Chronicles 7: 13-15 says; "If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. My eyes will now be open and My ears attentive to prayer from this place."
May God Almighty help us, our family, our society to restore to wholeness and experience God’s mercy and His Restoratives work in our life . May God bless our homes as the house of prayers and our Liturgical prayers are the source for Consolation, Restoration.
Almighty God bless us all. Amen.
V. Rev. Dr. Varughese Plamthottathil Chor Episcopos
Vicar and President of St. Baselios Orthodox Church, New York, U.S.A.