Homily for Friday of the 7th Week of Easter
In the Gospel that we’ve just heard, Jesus is appearing to seven of his disciples after the Resurrection on the Sea of Tiberius. In the midst of that appearance, Jesus has this intimate encounter with Peter.
There is a great significance to this moment. Notice that Jesus asks Peter this question: “Do you love me?” three times. Now think back to the moments after Jesus had been arrested on Holy Thursday and Peter is asked three times if he knew the Lord. We all know how that turned out. So the questions that Jesus is asking Peter is meant to be a reclaiming of Peter’s discipleship, really a reclaiming of Peter’s true identity. Jesus is removing the shame and the guilt that Peter must have been feeling in the days after the Crucifixion. Jesus does that in order to give Peter the strength to persevere in the path that God had destined for him.
Now think to the times that you and I sin. Each time that happens, it is a denial of God’s love for us. Each time we sin it is a denial of our love for Jesus. And yet, the conversation that Jesus has with Peter is the same one that Jesus has with us. Even though we have sinned and turned away from God at too many points in our lives, the Lord still desires to have a relationship with us, He still desires for us to be His disciples, He still asks us to follow Him.
For each of us, the Lord Jesus is coming to us today and asking us this very same question: “do you love me?” What will our answer be? Will we choose to persevere in a life of sin and continue to deny Him or will we, like Peter in this instance, come to a moment of deep conversion and offer our love to the Lord and follow Him more closely?