The gospel of today is the last interaction Jesus had with his disciples in John’s Gospel. Today’s gospel follows from that of yesterday and ends with “follow me”.
In today’s Gospel, as Peter was following Jesus, He turned and saw the beloved apostle also following. Peter began to ask Jesus about the fate of the apostle, but Jesus reproached Peter saying “If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? Please follow me.
Remember that Jesus has already in the previous verses talked about the type of mission and death awaiting Peter.
Jesus’ statement about John surely indicates that different missions and fate are awaiting both of them. Jesus did not certainly say that John would not die, because He said “if” which is conditional.
Although John was the only apostle that died a natural death, Peter was crucified upside down according to tradition after refusing to be crucified like Jesus.
The response Jesus gives to Peter points to the fact that as Christians, we have different vocations in life. God calls us in different ways.
The best way to do this effectively is not by fighting or envying another, but by recognizing where God calls you and work effectively for Him.
When I started writing daily, the main intention was not to reflect on the daily readings of the day. I grew up passing through a lot of challenges and I promised myself that if I become ordained, I will live, giving life, strength and hope to anyone depressed or passing through difficulties.
After my ordination, I started writing messages that could help strengthen the faith of the people during times of crisis. It was during this time that a priest asked me to try daily reflections.
I objected to it because it would be tedious considering my work and assignments. Also, I know that doing that may even bring some criticisms, especially when you do not reflect well.
It took me another year, to reconsider when a friend asked me to explain a particular bible reading of the day for him. After doing that, I talked to myself, let me give this a trial. Then the journey started. This year makes it the fourth year am doing this, all glory goes to God.
Then after a long run, I felt like I have forgotten my main intention because I stopped writing messages for the depressed. Then now what I did was to begin a YouTube channel, where I can still be giving messages that will inspire souls out of difficulties, faithlessness and loss of hope in God in times of troubles and difficulties. You can check the channel here and subscribe to it.
Many also serve God in different ways. You will come to know this when you respond to the yearnings of your heart. The reason God calls Mr A is not the reason He calls Mr B. God calls us in different ways to serve Him in different ways.
Our Journey is Different
The encounter between Peter, John and Jesus today simply shows that we have different fate and different mission to accomplish.
1 . Sometimes we spend our time thinking and worrying about the other person that we forget to follow our journey, just like Peter was following, stopped and began to put an eye in another person’s soup.
I wonder what went on in Peter’s heart? Was he jealous of John’s close friendship with Jesus? Why is he so inquisitive to find out about the other person? Is he interested to know John’s position among the apostles?
Jesus responds to Peter “what is that to you. Follow me”. Jesus’ response to Peter can be seen like this ” Oh Peter what is your concern about him, please face your vocation”. In essence, Jesus is asking us, “concentrate on your vocation and serve me with it”.
2. We have different apostolates, just like Peter was called to Shepherd the flock and John wrote boldly that His, is to testify that all that happened is true.
He concludes his Gospel by saying that he is “the disciple who testifies to these events and has written them.”
John also testifies that his testimony is true. So, God calls us in different ways for the building of His church and the salvation of souls.
3. We have different fate, we have different journeys, and we have different missions. Peter died through crucifixion, unlike John who died a natural death.
Therefore in our different missions in life, some are meant to pass through a lot of challenges due to the nature of their call. Let us be focused and not complain away the blessings awaiting us at the end.
4 . In today’s gospel, Jesus tells Peter to mind his journey. This is good advice for all of us. Let us always know that God calls us in different ways.
Sometimes, we are so much distracted and afraid of the other. Sometimes, many try to imitate the other person, trying to do the way He does.
We are unique. The worst mistake one can make is to be distracted to the extent of losing focus on what his mission is. Never imitate anyone.
5 . Also many times we base our sense of self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. We either look at those whom we consider highly gifted, talented, spiritual and powerful and tell ourselves we are not or we look at those whom we consider being so inferior, worldly and not to our level that we are superior.
Both attitudes are dangerous and unproductive in our mission. When Peter did this, Jesus scolded him and said “Peter, you mind your journey and simply follow me.”
In Our different vocations, the aim is not to imitate, but to look unto God who calls us in different ways to work for Him.
6 . Therefore, our task is to follow Jesus. He is the way. Let us serve with the different gifts God blessed us with.
Our task is not to judge each other, criticize, imitate, trying to kick at the back but simply to face our mission, to follow Jesus side by side, work for Him and help each other along the journey.
If we do this, we will continue to blossom and the vineyard of God will continue to prosper. Beloved, do not be distracted.
May God give us the grace to understand why we are in this world. May He show you the way to survival. Amen