The reading for today is John 21:15-17, NIV.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus’ question, asked three times, echoes the three times Peter denied Christ. It may be hard to forgive, but it can be harder to accept forgiveness. The ability to believe we are forgiven is crucial to our spiritual growth. As Peter stands before Jesus it is reasonable to presume that he is all too aware of his failure to stand by and with his beloved master during the Passion. But Jesus focuses on his capacity to love, not on his failure. He does not admonish him for his betrayals. Because He loves, Peter is reinstated, and given a great responsibility to care for the early Christian community.
If Jesus were to ask me, ‘Do you love me?’ how would I respond? Many women and men, down the ages, have given their lives for Christ. How would I feel if I were asked to do the same? Can I at least be a good follower of Jesus? We are called to feed his people in many ways, not because we are perfect, but because we do our best to share the best of our lives with others. When we wonder do we love God, perhaps we would be better not answering, but just to offer the love of our hearts, imperfect as it is, and then we can say, ‘Lord you know I love you’. Leave the answer to him!
Lord, I ask that you help me fill by heart with forgiveness and charity.
Donna DeMauro firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern – Those who don’t understand forgiveness.