St. Peter’s exhortation on the day of Pentecost was to repent and to accept Jesus and the Spirit Jesus sends to them. Repentance simply means here rethinking about your current beliefs, perceptions, practices, phobias, infatuations and pursuits and to look differently from the point of view of the good news proclaimed by Jesus.

St. Peter in his letter adds that the acceptance is also of suffering as part of our association with Jesus who walked before us in his suffering and death. Willingly accepting suffering leads us to endurance and in the endurance we do not return abuse for abuse, no threats to others, no accusation but open acceptance of all including those who persecute and do not accept us. The disciples of Jesus should keep their doors always open for everyone. It means our hearts need to be open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex, nationality and personal appearances and preferences.

Acceptance of gospel has to be not according to our terms but according to those of Jesus, which alone can give us all the blessings proceeding from the acceptance. In the gospel Jesus warns us that there are always predators around us who will try to snatch us away from our commitment to him. Our arch enemies are the world, the devil and our own body, our humanity. All the attractions of the world which prevent us from being with Jesus are the working of the devil.

Our body with all its features and inclinations is a perfect gift of God and it is his making. Every part and limb of the body is for and with a purpose. Our temptations are to use them not for the purpose for which they are made but for other purposes and those are the occasions we surrender ourselves to the devil or to the manipulations of the world. And Jesus has a remedy to save us from our wandering away from the purpose for which we are created, namely he offers himself as our Shepherd.

This Shepherd keeps himself always awake to receive us, to save us and to form and transform us, he walks before us, he keeps himself as the door, which remains always open in order that we his sheep may enter and be safe in his heart. What a powerful and endearing Master we have! If only we could listen to him and enter into the bliss he offers us!
Fr. George