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Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Acts 25:13b-21
Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab
John 21:15-19
In the reading from Acts, a Roman king acquiesces
to Paul’s preference to stand trial in Rome in a Ro-
man court instead of Jerusalem before religious au-
thorities. (Paul was executed in Rome.) In the reading from Gospel of John,
Jesus asks Peter whether Peter loves him three times. Each time Peter an-
swers “yes”. Jesus tells Peter to care for his sheep, and after the third time,
Jesus predicts Peter’s martyrdom.
Today’s readings left me uncomfortable – but that was the point, I think: to
remind us of our commitments and responsibilities as Christians, followers
of Jesus. We like to focus on the blessings and aid God gives us, to read
about His generosity and love as we do in today’s psalm. But to be a fol-
lower of Jesus is not necessarily an easy path. Jesus warns us that there will
challenges and hardships as we carry his name and message into the
world. As to why this has to be, I don’t know for sure. Who has a truly sat-
isfactory answer to the question “Why do bad things happen to good peo-
ple?” If God is all powerful, all knowing, and supremely good, how can this
be? I suspect that it has something to do with each of us being a child of
God with great potential but endowed with free will to determine how we
face those challenges. In doing so, we move towards or away from God.
(Of course, God continually offers his grace to us and helps us to turn to-
wards Him.)
Just as it difficult to understand the existence of evil in the world, it is also
difficult to truly understand why the paths that God asks some of us to