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Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2,4,5-6,11-12,13
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19
In this Gospel, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples
for the third time as they cast their nets for fish. He
asks Simon Peter if he loves Him, and commands
him to feed and tend His sheep. Jesus' last state-
ment foretells of Simon Peter's martyrdom by crucifixion.
When reading the Gospels, I am always struck by the extraordinary difficul-
ties the Disciples faced. They endured taunts and rejection and violence
while struggling with their doubts, grappling with the improbable evidence
set before them. I am painfully aware that, were this history to be re-
peated today, it is unlikely that my faith would be sufficient to follow the
poor, controversial figure proclaiming that he is the son of God. I fear that
my following would be timid at best, plagued with doubts and easily dis-
couraged. Yet in this passage, when the Apostles realize that the figure
standing on the shore is Jesus, Simon Peter is so overcome with his desire
to be near his Lord that he throws himself into the sea to swim to Him
rather than wait for the boat to come ashore. Unhesitatingly, he flings his
entire being into his willingness to follow Jesus.
Jesus questions Simon Peter's love for Him for one reason: to emphasize
that by caring for His sheep, Simon Peter will be caring for the Lord as well.
In spite of Simon's history of denying the Lord, Jesus knows his heart and
makes him the rock on which he builds his church. Even as Jesus alludes
to the terrible death that awaits him, Simon still dedicates himself and his
life to his Lord. This gives me hope that, in spite of my shortcomings,
doubts and selfishness, there is something in me that can be a small foun-
dation for Jesus' love in the world as well.