A reading from 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: "Do you love me?" "Follow me."
We are all too familiar with St Peter's denial of Jesus. I, too, sit in the pews and shake my head on what a timid and fearful man St Peter was. But I ask myself and I suppose we all do--what would we have done if in the same place and situation? Real faith backs up words with actions. (James 2:17) What would we have chosen to do? Yes, we love Jesus, but are we equipped and prepared for the camp encounter?
Safety, comfort, fear, no suffering and no pain (to name a few) will keep me away from doing more for God. But I hear Jesus asking me, "Do you love me?" "Do you love me more than these?"
There are times that we are sensitive to whom we confess or to whom we confide in because there is always the fear that when our sins, our flaws and our pasts are made known, we will be written off, given the cold shoulder, or lose friendships. Whether there is some truth to these feelings or not, we must never forget that Jesus is not in the scolding business, but in the reconciling, forgiving and loving lost souls. He is a sweet and loving friend whose heart throbs for you.
May we remember that our priests are "in persona Christi capitis in ecclesiae" in the person of Christ, the Head, in the Church (PAPA handbook page 6). May we pray that as they give us the absolution, mercies and graces of Jesus, that we will grow in selfless love for God. As God's mercy is given to us through the priest may we say, "Here I am, Lord."
God Bless You