First Reading: Acts 25:13-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103
Gospel: John 21:15-19
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” (Jn 21:15-19)
What if Jesus asked you three times in a row whether you loved Him or not? Most likely you would react like Peter did, getting frustrated at the repeated question. But regardless of how comfortable we are with the question, it is still a good one for us to ask ourselves. Do we love Him more than anything else? Do we love Him so much that we would be willing to sacrifice for Him? Do we love Him so much that we are willing to obey Him and follow His agenda rather than our own? Do we love Him enough to endure pain and hardship in this life? Do we recognize how great His love for us is, and are we willing to love Him back?
The exchange that we see take place between Peter and Jesus is one that not only gives Peter authority as the leader of the Church ("feed my lambs ... tend my sheep ... feed my sheep"), but it is also help Peter realize that loving the Lord means following Him where ever He leads. The truth is that you cannot truly follow someone unless you have love for them. It takes a certain type of love, a love of a person that makes us loyal and trusting, that allows us to follow someone. Like Peter, we cannot follow God unless we realize how much we love Him and how much we are loved.
God is calling out to each of us; "do you love me?" Once we say "yes Lord, I love you", then we are ready to follow Him.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord thank you for our lives, help us to glorify you through all that we do. Lord, you are our God, and you know what is best for us, help us to never veer from the path of which you have laid down for us. Lord, we belong to you, we do not belong to this world; help us only to live in it and not of it. We pray for all of our priests and religious. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.