The Holy Gospel According to 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.”
Reflection: Thank God our God is a God of second chances. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives Peter not only a second chance, but a third chance. Remember, Peter denied Jesus three times when Jesus needed him the most. Jesus asked Peter only one question, three times. Not because he did not know the answer, but because he knew how important it was for Peter to say it out loud, in front of his companions, thus publicly redeeming himself. Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to “feed my lambs/tend my sheep.” In essence, this describes the “installation” of Peter as the first pope. Jesus knew that Peter loved him, but he was inviting him to demonstrate this love by continuing his mission of leading the Church through loving service of God’s people.
Today, Jesus is asking us, “Do you love me?” What is our answer going to be? One way we can show we love Jesus is to keep his commandments. Jesus tells us earlier in this Gospel, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Another way of showing our love for Jesus is by living our faith and putting our faith into action. Jesus’ mission is not limited to the pope. We show our love for Jesus by continuing his mission on earth, by serving the Church and our brothers and sisters. We show our love for Jesus by the way we care for his people, our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than us.
Action for the day: Jesus’ invitation to love him will come to us at different times and in a variety of ways during our day. We need to have our eyes, ears and heart open to be able to recognize the invitation. Pray for the grace to help you recognize the invitation and then to respond to the invitation accordingly, by tending his sheep and feeding his lambs.