In the first reading today from Acts 25, Paul is in Caesarea awaiting trial. He is asked if he wants to go to Jerusalem to have his case heard. Paul declines, knowing that God is sending him to Rome. So Paul appeals his case to the Emperor. Our Gospel reading is from John 21, one of the most moving stories in all of Scripture.
If you recall, on the night of Jesus’ trial, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus. This had to be something that Peter must have been ashamed of. So after the resurrection, Jesus gives Peter a chance to redeem himself. He gives him a do-over. In golf parlance, we call it a mulligan. Now mulligans are not legal in the rules of golf. But because hacks like me tend to dump our first tee shot into the woods or the drink, my friends are merciful to me and offer me a mulligan. Hmm…I never really thought that my friends were like God, but I guess they are!
You see, God offers us unlimited mulligans. Each and every time we plunk one into the drink (euphemistically speaking, of course), we get a do-over. It’s called the Sacrament of Confession. And whenever we go to the sacrament, not only does God give us a mulligan, He even wipes the score card clean! Now that’s my kind of playing partner! If God offers us unlimited mulligans, should not we offer unlimited mulligans to others? (I only wish I were talking about golf!)
Father, we thank you for always offering us a mulligan. Thank you for having mercy when it comes to our many spiritual hooks, slices, tops, chili-dips, etc. Give us the grace to offer spiritual mulligans to our lousy playing partners. Amen.