No one will claim not to love Jesus, of course, we all love Jesus. Hence, when we go through this gospel we can certainly understand that loving Jesus is not merely by saying it. It is a task full of responsibilities.
In today’s gospel, Jesus asks Peter repeatedly do you “do you love me? and Peter’s answer is yes. In His response, Jesus gave Him a task to show that he truly loves Him.
So, today, Jesus is asking us “Do you love me? Do you love Jesus? If you love Jesus, can you offer yourself, your time, energy and talents for Him? Let us go through the gospel.
Do you love me more than these?
The first question here is “what does Jesus truly mean by “these”. To understand this we have to go back to the beginning of the chapter.
First of all, this happened after the resurrection and after a great miracle. Peter, who with the other apostles toiled all through the night but could not catch any fish became hopeless until Jesus came to the scene.
The presence and instruction from Jesus changed the whole story. Peter was so surprised by this miracle, hence comes the question “do you love me more than these”?.
Here Jesus is pointing to the miracle of the great catch and probably other things He has done. Peter do you love me more than these miracles?
We can then ask ourselves; “Is the love I have for Jesus only based on wonders and miracles? Is the love I have for Jesus only based on what He does for me?
Can I sincerely love Him whether good or bad? Why did you lose faith? Am I working for Jesus because of what I will gain?
2. Secondly, by asking Peter this question, Jesus is telling us what true love is. Because it has not been long since Peter denied Jesus, Jesus would have reminded Peter of the denial.
So, the question would have been ” Peter why did you deny me?” How could you lie Peter? But here, Jesus is teaching us that true love bears no grudges.
True love is shown in moments of betrayal, challenges and troubles. Such as God loves us even though we are sinners ( Romans 5:8).
If You Love Me
Peter, having denied the Lord three times, was also asked by the Lord three times. Jesus repeats the essential question, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” These three questions hit Peter like a repeated hammer. And three times Peter’s denial ” I do not know who He is” was changed to “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
Here, the past was swallowed, despite the pains and denial, love won the victory. Love conquers all. The easiest way to end grudges, hatred etc is to show love. Love does not glory in anger, love does not keep a record of wrongdoing ( 1 Cor 13:5).
Here, Jesus puts into practice His command to love and forgive one another. This is the only way to show we are his disciples ( John 13:35).
So, If you truly love Jesus, forgive others also. Go back and burn the records of the past, the denials and betrayal and begin a new life. Love bears all and endures all things. ( 1 Cor 13:7).
My Lamb, My Sheep
It is noteworthy that three times the Lord responded to Peter’s affirmation of love, “Feed My lambs, Shepherd My sheep and Feed My sheep.”
First, Jesus uses “my” to denote that the work Peter is going to do is not his but that of Jesus. The souls handed into our care are not ours but that of Jesus.
Secondly “feed, shepherd” is a task to continually take care of these souls, guiding, protecting and keeping them from being lost.
It entails caring for the well-being of the flock. Granted, some of the sheep can be stubborn, and difficult to handle. But if Jesus loved them enough to die for them, then we all have to love them, too. Not for our own sake but for the sake of Jesus.
If we say we love Jesus, there are souls around us who are following the wrong path, bring them back to God. Others are facing great challenges, encourage them.
There are many dying in hunger, we can touch their lives if we can. This we are doing not for our own sake but for the sake of the one we love; Jesus. Let us live in love, this is the only way to show Jesus how much we love Him.
May God bless you dearest and give you the grace to love Him sincerely. May He never allow you to stumble Amen