April 13, 2013
THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
John 21, 1-19
|Meme courtesy of Magnilay Tayo|
The apparition of Jesus in today's Gospel passage is the last to be told in John's account. It happened just while the apostles are fishing along the sea of Tiberias, trying to go back to their lives after Jesus' death and resurrection. For some of them, it is an encounter of joy for they saw Jesus again, but for Peter it is an encounter full of memories and destiny.
John recognizes the one who commanded them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, catching a great number of fish. Full of joy, John said to Peter, It is the Lord! It is He who cured the sick, drove away demons, raised Lazarus to life, and fed thousands during his ministry. It is he who was condemned by the authorities, yet raised to life and now lives forever and ever.
Upon hearing this, Simon Peter jumped into the sea, and swam towards Jesus. Overjoyed, he waited on the Lord during that glorious morning which would change his life forever. He had the best conversation of his life, one which would shape his destiny as head of the Church which Jesus founded.
Do you love me?
Jesus asked Peter thrice if he loves Him. It may be a simple question repeated three times, which could be answered by anyone, but for Peter, it opened a part of his painful past. It reminded him of that morning when his Lord was beaten and questioned by the authorities, the morning when he denied Jesus thrice before the cock crowed. Hindi naman sa nakulitan, but it really made Peter a little sad. For him to be questioned by his Master, it's like saying to him, akala mo nakalimutan ko?
At that decisive moment, Peter answered, Yes, Lord! You know all things; You know that I love You. Peter knew that what was done was done, yet there will still be a chance to seek forgiveness and be united again. With his answer, it's like saying, Opo, alam kong di ninyo nalilimutan, ngunit alam kong pinatawad na ninyo ako.
Jesus replied, Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. With this reply, Jesus turned Peter, from the fisherman to the Shepherd of His flock. He gave him the leadership of the Church which he founded upon the rock. Even if it takes his life, Peter would proceed and lead the Universal Church through its initial days. The memory of the denial was vanished; it was replaced by the glorious task of leading the faithful towards believing in God and in Jesus.
Come, follow me!
We are all like Peter. We try to live our own lives, yet God calls us for something more. We draw closer to Jesus, especially when we have problems and we know that He is there by the shore, waiting for us. We all denied Jesus in our sins and failures, yet he asks us all the more, Do you love me? We are tasked to love and take care of each other, as Jesus does for all of us.
The Lord asks us, Do you love me? How do we respond? Do we keep on running away? Do we try to hide ourselves? Do we say YES without even thinking what it means? Do we offer our lives for Him and for the people saved by his blood?
Jesus waits by the shore. He asks us, Do you love Me? What will be our answer?