Friday 29th May 2020
Seventh week of Easter
Acts 25:13-21, John 21:15-19
As we gradually come to the end of the Easter season, we look into the future with hope. In the gospel reading of today, we are presented with the person of Peter as the central character among other disciples. We know that when the head is cut off, the other parts of the body are more or less useless.
Peter who is the head of the Apostles seemed to have been tired of waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, he therefore decided to return to his fishing business, either for pleasure or for gain. Whatever the reason, we see that the decision did not go down well with Jesus, because when Jesus had called him, he had commissioned him to become a Fisher of men. With his miraculous intervention, Peter had a great catch of fish. Nevertheless, the question of Jesus to Peter; "do you love me?" is very central. Scholars interpret this question in two ways:
1. Seeing the great catch of fish, Jesus may have asked Peter if he loved him more than the fish and the money he would make from selling the fish. This means therefore, that Jesus was reminding Peter that he had called him to leave his lucrative business to preach the gospel. In other words, if you love me more than this fish, business and money, go back and preach my word.
2. Some other scholars believe that Jesus was not referring to the fish, but to the other Apostles. Since Peter was the head of the Apostles, Jesus was therefore asking him if he loved him more than the other Apostles because he was the head. For some others also, the fact that Jesus asked Peter three times and gave him an opportunity to say he loved him three times, was an opportunity in form of a second chance for him to atone for his denial of Jesus three times before his passion and death.
Whatever the reason Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, one thing is very central which is the fact that in each of the response of Peter, Jesus commanded him to love and feed his sheep. We can therefore ask ourselves the question today: do we love God more than our business, money and career? Do we love God more than our colleagues and those around us? If our answer is yes, Jesus calls us today to love and feed one another. Just as Jesus tells Peter today, we can only say that we love Jesus if we love and strengthen the sheep, the people of God.
It is only this love that made Paul to suffer all the persecutions in the course of his missionary works as we also see in the first reading of today. When you love Jesus, pain and suffering are nothing, in so far as his name is made known. May God help us to show that we love him. Amen.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP