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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 April 2015: Jean Halliday, St Laurence Catholic Church

Easter

Easter is the celebration of Christ's great gift of forgiveness and life; a reason to rejoice as we journey now towards Pentecost.

The lessons that have been learnt are that we have been forgiven so that, we too, can be merciful and compassionate to others. Christ gave the responsibility of His church to Peter, the man who denied Him at His time of greatest need. A man shown through the gospels to be weak at times but impetuous, full of love and a leaders, the 'Rock' of the new church (Matthew chapter 16 verses 18 and 19).

Jesus did not chose John, 'the disciple Jesus loved (John chapter 13 verse 23) and who stood at the foot of the cross with His mother, but someone who knew what is was to be a sinner and to have been forgiven. So much good was brought out of Peter's weakness.

Later in the Acts (chapter 2 verses 2 to 39) Peter preaches to the people and reminds them that they crucified Jesus, and they were 'cut to the heart' (verse 37). They asked Peter what they should do and Peter offers them forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding his own sin meant he could meet their anger and hostility with gentleness and compassion. This changes the heart much more effectively than accusations. But before he preached to that crowd he had been given yet another gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit - the gift of insight into himself and and in the message of the Gospel, the gift to speak so that he would be understood by whomever heard him.

That is the same gift offered to us now, and, like Peter, we only need to say 'you know we love you Lord' and open ourselves to his spirit. (John chapter 21 verses 15 to 17).

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