A story about failure and running away from our shame

I thought this story might help meth addicts and, truly, anyone who has ever given up something or someone good because they failed at it or hurt that person. And whether you’re a Christian or not, this message from Fr. Vincenzo Acampora delivered this morning at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Yigo, Guam speaks to all of us who have ever run away from something good because we didn’t feel worthy of it.

Because we felt like failures.

As soon as I heard the homily, it pierced my soul and I know it can speak to so many of you as well who might need consolation during these difficult moments of life.

The homily was based on St. John the Beloved’s account of the third time Jesus Christ appeared to His disciples after he rose from the dead. As Fr. Acampora explains, Simon Peter – the leader of the Apostles who would go on to become the first Pope of Christ’s church – felt so bad that he denied Jesus at His crucifixion that he turned away from his Christian ministry and went back to what he knew: fishing.

And the other Apostles followed Peter. Try as they did, they caught no fish until Christ appeared on the shore and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat… the weak side. They pulled up more fish than the boat could handle, and that’s when Peter recognized the Lord,  jumped out of the boat and went to Him.

‘How many times in life do we fail to weakness and run away from something good because we are ashamed of ourselves?’ Fr. Acampora asks. It is in that weakness where we find Him if we just hold on and realize that He is always there to strengthen us and to forgive us. We just have to learn to forgive ourselves and to turn back to what we know is good and right.

Please forgive my recording as the audio quality is low and I had to listen to every word on replay (Fr. Vincenzo has a very heavy Italian accent). He is a wonderful priest who has helped to change my life for the good.

The following is the Gospel reading for full reference of Fr. Acampora’s homily:

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

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