My Thoughts

There is a familiar passage—familiar to those who perchance have heard it more than a time or two or those who have bothered to take the time to read the Gospel of John—in the last chapter where Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” not once mind you, not twice, but three times. After Simon Peter answers Jesus, assuring him that he does indeed love him, Jesus says to him something both remarkable and mystifying: “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (John 21:17-18).

Now John indicates this was to show Peter what death he was to experience to glorify God, and yet, how would Peter have known or understood it that way? Even if Peter understood it to mean the manner of his death, should we? Is there a deeper meaning, something more profound for the rest of us?

I am old and growing older. There, I admit it. I am neither afraid of aging nor of dying though I must confess to not being in any rush to leave this mortal coil; I am rather fond of living though the thought of meeting Simon Peter in the spirit intrigues me more than a little, and God draws me ever closer to him. At least I hold some hope for that marvelous outcome; freezing cold or fiery furnace are nothing that I would enjoy for long (certainly not for all eternity). So, as you might well attend, the meaning of John 21:17-18 is of greater import these days than then so long ago.

When we were young, the world seemed ever young, there were no limits; everything was before us, no endings, no last breaths, nothing but endless horizons to journey toward; there were always rainbows pointing to pots of gold horded by greedy leprechauns. We went wherever we were wont to go without care or bother. Age has a way with us, extrospection slyly turns to introspection as well as retrospection. That is a good thing, I believe, if only the young could learn the wisdom of old souls before they tossed them so casually aside.

We feel our arms stretched out against our wills, we no longer feel free to go wherever we wish to go, no longer free to say what we wish to say, no longer allowed to worship, to pray, to kneel before our God. The Truth has been constrained, our minds driven to madness, fed falsehoods and lies, our lives measured by the chemicals and matter of our bodies, fodder for the masters who control us. God is not dead, except within the hearts of men; there is no soul, no spirit, no heaven, no hell except this hellish nightmare we call now. We are no longer dissatisfied with satisfaction for we are satisfied with the humdrum of our lives. It is normalcy we crave in the abnormalcy round us. We are old though we are young, and we are carried where we do not wish to go, and yet, we care not enough to resist in the smallest.

There is hope, always hope. I find hope in many things, especially when the days grow dark, for the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

~T.S. Eliot, East Coker, in Four Quartets

Wake up America.

Just my thoughts for a Friday, for what it is worth.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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