Love is an intoxicating word. It has a natural power to give you a lift, an experience of a “high.”  Look how love makes people excited.  It makes teenagers blush and scream.  It makes adults romantic and sweet.  Love is the key that makes movies earn millions in their first showing day.
But love has another side.  It can be intoxicating, but it can also be toxic!  For love can be manipulated.  Love can be twisted. Love can lead to betrayal.  Love can result in tremendous pain.
Need we cite the many instances people cried, gone mad, did wrong or died because of love, or rather of wrong experiences in love? If love were only a word or a feeling, it would be pristine.  But love is more than text messages or Facebook or Twitter entries. Love flows through concrete actions.
Jesus showed immense love for his disciples and his disciples also professed their love and devotion to him.  Remember Peter telling Jesus how he would join him to the cross?  And then on the night of Jesus’ arrest and torture, did he not three times denounce the Lord?
I imagine how Jesus must have felt.  The one he trusted broke his heart. The one he loved lied to his face.  The one he nurtured and empowered turned against him.  Many of us can identify perfectly with Jesus as we remember the many times we learned hard lessons from the hands of people we loved and trusted.
But for God, there is another aspect of love.  Aside from just being intoxicating and being toxic, love can be transforming.  There can and will always be another chance in love, except for those who have abandoned all hope.  This is what the Easter Gospel illustrates to us.  Jesus meets Peter, the liar, the betrayer, and gives him the opportunity to become his closest friend again (Jn 21).
Now Peter must prove his trustworthiness again.  Jesus did not stop until Peter three times said: I love you, Lord.  But this time, words were not enough.  Borrowing from Spiderman the movie, we say, “with great love comes great responsibility.”  Now, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.  Show me you have changed.”
Like Peter, have we hurt the people who invested love and trust on us? Do you want another chance?  Then, children and young people, respect and obey your parents again.  Students, listen and follow your teachers this time.  Husbands and wives, learn to forgive and forget once more.  Friends, accept each others’ weakness. And for those who have betrayed God’s love, continue to repent and “obey God rather than men” as the first reading tells us (Acts 5).
When love has gone toxic, there is a chance.  It can still be transformed by acts of sincerity and responsible action. Let us follow Peter’s example and renew our love for the Lord and for each other.