3rd Sunday of Easter
April 14, 2013 7:30 and 9:00am
Saint Margaret Parish, Bel Air
The Car Keys
A 17 year-old teenager named Bob really messed up one evening.
His Mom and Dad let him use the car on a Saturday night to take his girlfriend to the movies. Unfortunately, things got a bit out of hand.
On the way to the movies, Bob and his girlfriend picked up a couple of other friends. Bob was talking, not paying enough attention to his driving, and ran a stop light.
A policeman pulled him over. And besides the red light issue, an open beer can – not Bob’s, but one of his friend’s – was found in the back seat.
Bob’s parents were called and came to the scene. Without a word, he handed over the car keys to Mom and Dad and didn’t expect to get them back for a long time.
Well, the following Monday, Mom asked Bob if he could take his grandmother to her doctor’s appointment after school. She handed Bob the car keys.
Bob took his grandmother to the appointment and on some other errands. Then he returned home and handed the keys back to Mom.
Later that week, Mom was delayed at work. She called Bob and asked him to pick up some things for dinner.
Bob took the extra set of car keys from the kitchen drawer and headed out to Shop Rite. He got a call on his cell phone and some of his friends asked him to go to the mall with them.
Bob said no and just proceeded to the supermarket. He came home, helped unpack the grocery bags, and put the car keys back in the kitchen drawer.
The following Saturday, Bob’s father asked him to go over to Home Depot to get some mulch. Dad tossed the car keys to Bob and he headed out.
About an hour later Bob came home and helped his father with the yard work. When they went inside for some lunch, Bob started to hand the car keys back to his father
But Dad just looked and didn’t reach to take the keys. Instead, very matter-of-factly, he said, “No, now you hold on to them.”
Jesus and Peter
Bob’s Mom and Dad understood that they must hold their son accountable for what he had done.
But, they also gave Bob a chance to restore their trust in him. They wanted the relationship to be restored.
This is much like what Jesus does with Peter in today’s gospel. Jesus knows that Peter denied him three times during his passion.
And Peter hasn’t forgotten this either. So, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?”
Jesus does not taunt Peter or put him down or get in his face. He just gives Peter the chance to respond positively.
Peter does this and the relationship gets restored. In fact, Jesus entrusts Peter with great responsibility – to feed his lambs and his sheep, in other words, to succeed him as the shepherd.
I imagine that many of us have had similar experiences.
We have had our trust broken in a relationship. We have been disappointed.
This can happen between friends, between husband and wife, between parents and children, and on it goes. The example of Jesus and of Bob’s parents is very helpful.
We are not to sweep the breach of trust under the carpet. We are not to pretend that it didn’t happen.
Instead, we are to deal with the issue and deal with it as respectfully as we can. And we are to try to give the other person the chance over time to respond and regain our trust.
This can happen with actions – as with Bob and his parents. And it can happen with words – as with Peter and Jesus.
It is challenging, it takes some time, and it can be very difficult because of hurt feelings. But this chance of restoration of trust is something Jesus calls us to consider today.