April 9, 2021 – Friday of the Easter Octave
(Acts 4: 1 – 12; Ps:118; John 21: 1 – 14)
All four Gospels give us some insight into the one Jesus named “The Rock” – Peter – Simon son of John – a fisherman by trade, possibly illiterate and certainly, a man of good will, impetuous, determined. Jesus invited him with his brother, Andrew, and they followed Him immediately. Peter surrendered to Jesus, or at least, the surrendering began. He followed the Master, sometimes he questioned, once confessed Jesus to be the Son of God and then, in a moment of fear, of weakness, he betrayed and wept bitterly.
In the account from Acts we just heard, Peter, with strong conviction before the men of power, proclaimed a most essential truth of the Way: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” The fisherman left them stupefied, fiercely angry and he held his ground.
How did Simon Peter, son of John, come to such strong conviction, such inner strength of belief? St. John in Chapter 14 gives the reason. The place is near the Sea of Tiberias, the Risen Lord appeared to some of the apostles and had even prepared a breakfast for them.
With no accusing finger, no sign of anger Jesus spoke directly to Peter with compassion, mercy: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Three times Peter replied – perhaps with tears – “Lord, You know that I love You!” It is this love that moved, filled, inspired Peter “The Rock” to speak of THE NAME – this simple fisherman before the august, powerful, threatening assembly.
Faith comes from listening but not any kind of listening; it requires listening based on, founded in love. Intelligence, IQ do not grant faith – only love! Love that goes beyond feeling; love that arises from the will and this love is always a gift of God, always! It follows that our prayer should be simple and direct: “Lord, grant me a heart that wills to love so that I may truly know You with conviction, strength, joy. For, Lord Jesus, Your Holy Name is the only Name of our salvation. There is no other!”