Gospel text (Jn 21,15-19):
After Jesus and his disciples had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, «Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?». He answered, «Yes, Lord, you know that I love you». And Jesus said, «Feed my lambs». A second time Jesus said to him, «Simon, son of John, do you love me?». And Peter answered, «Yes, Lord, you know that I love you». Jesus said to him, «Look after my sheep».
And a third time He said to him, «Simon, son of John, do you love me?». Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, «Do you love me?», and he said, «Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you». Jesus then said, «Feed my sheep. Truly, I say to you, when you were young you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will put a belt around you and lead you where you do not wish to go». Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And He added, «Follow me».
This question that the Lord asked demand an answer very much personal in character. This question is evidently an invitation to follow Jesus more deeply and sincerely. Jesus asking you and me even today, do you love me and how much do you love me?
Let us ask the same question to ourselves; in which I have responded this love and how am I going to respond to Him today in a positive way? Three times the question is repeated and there is an urgency, a profound feeling and emotion is involved. Peter surrenders to this love and this utter surrender will do good to each and every one of us.
Every love relationship comes with an engagement or mission. Here Peter is called to follow his Master, and be par excellence the same pastor as Jesus was for Him. In later days Peter will realise in its fullness the meaning of this call and the demand of the Lord.
We too need this patience to understand the project of the Lord and to understand it in its fullness the meaning of our own call and the demand of the Lord.
«‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you’. Jesus then said, ‘Feed my sheep’»
Fr. Joaquim MONRÓS i Guitart
Today, we should be grateful to St. John for having left with us the evidence of an intimate dialogue between Jesus and Peter: «Simon, son of John, do you love me?», and he said, «Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you». Jesus then said, «Feed my lambs’» (Jn 21:15). —From the smallest ones, newly born to the Grace of God... you must take care, as if you were Myself... When a second time... «Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep’», He is actually telling Simon Peter: —You must guide all those who follow me in my Love, and you must see to it they all have the charity ordained. Thus, through you, everyone will realize they are following Me; for it is my Will you go always first, while administering the merits that —for each one— I have gained.
«Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’», and he said, «Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you’» (Jn 21:17). His triple denial makes him rectify, and just remembering it, saddens him. —I truly love you despite I denied you..., you know how much I have regretted my betrayal, you know how much I found consolation by being with your Mother and brothers.
I find consolation in remembering that the Lord established the power to forgive sins that separate us, whether a little or a lot, from his Love and the love to our brothers. —I find consolation when admitting the truth of my distancing from You while feeling from your priestly lips the «I absolve you» “by way of judgment”.
We find consolation in the power of those keys Jesus Christ confers to his priests-ministers, to open again the doors to his friendship. —Lord, I see that indifference can be arranged by a more intense act of love. It makes us altogether evaluate the immense joy of the Sacrament of forgiveness to confess our sins, which are really a “lack of love”.