It’s Sunday morning and I’m still ruminating over Friday’s Gospel (John 21:15-19) and what it said to me. It hit me so profoundly that I wanted to let the message sink in so I will never forget it.
When Jesus appeared to the Eleven the third time after being raised from the dead, He ate a breakfast of bread and fish with them. Right afterwards, He pulled Simon Peter aside and asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He didn’t ask only once. No, He asked three times. And, I think, by doing so, Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem himself for having denied Jesus three times before His death. I’m sure that is what was on Peter’s mind as he answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.”
But, I don’t think Jesus was trying to rub it in. He wasn’t concerned about the depth of Peter’s love for Him, rather, he was looking for commitment from the one He was appointing to lead His church.
Commitment. That’s what He asks of me, too.
It’s taken two days for that to sink in. Jesus asks me in every waking moment, “Jerry, do you love Me?” Especially every time I am on the verge of sinning. I realize now that, at those times when I’m aware of the sin I am committing, my cognizance is actually Jesus asking me, “Do you love Me?” I’m ashamed that, by my actions, I all too often respond otherwise.
Jesus asks of us only two main things to be Holy: to love God, and to love our neighbors. Every sin contradicts one or both of those commandments. Each time an action, a spoken word, or a disrespectful thought, which damages a relationship with another person, damages my relationship with the Lord. That’s not conducive to getting me to heaven.
“Jesus, You know that I love You. I resolve today to make that evident in all that I do. I know I need the help of Your Sanctifying Grace to override my occasional wavering commitment. And, when I fail, as I will, I need Your loving Mercy and Actual Grace to let me try again. Amen.”
(Do You Love Me? was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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