May 9, 2008
Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
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?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to 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."
Introductory Prayer: You invite me to follow you, Jesus. I believe that I can please you through my actions, and I hope to store up for myself treasure in heaven. I will follow you wherever you lead me because I want to do your will.
Petition: Lord, you know that I, too, love you. Give me the strength to love you today no matter what the circumstance.
1. I Have Chosen You If we could pick anyone in the world to spend time with, whom would we pick? Would it be a Hollywood star, a famous musician, the world’s greatest athlete, a powerful political figure? Well, God could have chosen to reveal himself to anyone. He could have chosen to show the High Priests or Pontius Pilate or Caesar that he was alive after his crucifixion. Yet he chose to reveal himself to ordinary fishermen. Instead of going to palaces, he chose to visit them on the tranquil shores of the Sea of Tiberias. There he chose to share a meal with the very people who had deserted him in his hour of suffering. We might never be famous or appear on the news or have our names broadcast to the world, but we have the great privilege of being known and loved by God himself. What more could we want?
2. Hindsight Is 20/20 Vision The Gospel tells us that Peter was distressed when Christ asked him a third time if he loved him. It’s as if Christ were doubting Peter’s sincerity. However, out of the goodness of his heart, Jesus was giving Peter the opportunity to express the love he had hidden when he had denied Christ three times. We can feel hurt when someone questions our actions or our words, but God allows trials and suffering in our life to purify us. Whenever God invites us to endure suffering, he is offering us an opportunity to make up for the times that we have failed to love him with all our heart and mind.
3. Spiritual Maturity At one time or another we’ve all noticed the amount of attention a newborn baby receives. The younger we are, the more we tend to be the center of attention. As we mature we tend to rely much more on ourselves. In the spiritual life, this can be dangerous. In his dialogue with Peter, Jesus implies that simply doing whatever we want may be a sign of spiritual immaturity, like a little child who always has to have his way. Society often tempts us to believe that doing whatever we want, whenever we want, is the pinnacle of freedom. Jesus gives us a different, more challenging perspective. He says, “When you grow old… someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." God constantly offers us his hand so that he may lead us. At times he leads us down the path of sacrifice, sacrifice out of love. This sacrifice is a sure way to love God and glorify him.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, even though you are my God and my creator, you take joy in being with me, your servant. You give me your love so that I may be strengthened to carry out my responsibilities. Without you I can do nothing, but with you everything is possible.
Resolution: I will forego a few minutes of television today to do a favor for someone close to me.
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