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Peter’s shame

Friday, 17 May 2013


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 21, 22 May 2013)


Being a sinner is not the problem. Rather the problem is not repenting of the sin, not feeling shame for what happened. Pope Francis — during this morning's homily, Friday 17 May, at the Chapel of Santa Marta — meditated on the history of Peter’s meeting with Jesus, who he noted, “entrusts his flock to a sinner”, Peter. “A sinner but not a corrupt one”, he explained. Referring to us all he said: “sinners, yes, all of us! but corrupt, no”. It is worse to be corrupt than a sinner.

What developed between Peter and Jesus after that first “follow me” was a dialogue of love. From the moment that Jesus called Simon by a new name: “Cepha, Peter”, it was the start of a mission, explained the Pope, “even if Peter understood nothing, the mission was there”. And when Peter later remembers how he denied evening knowing Jesus, “he feels ashamed. Peter’s shame.... Peter is a great man. A sinner. But the Lord shows him, him and us all, we are all sinners”. “The problem is not sinning”, but “not repenting of the sin, not feeling ashamed of what we have done. That is the problem”.

However Peter had a great heart and this “brought him to a new encounter with Jesus, in the joy of forgiveness”. Pope Francis recalled his own experiences of God’s mercy in the confessional, and asked for the grace that we may all learn by the example of Peter.

Participating in the Mass was a third group of Vatican Museum employees as well as the staff of the Vatican’s service for safety in the workplace, accompanied by the architect Pierpaolo di Mattia.


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