Do You Love Me?
For us Christians, this is a special time of year because we are an Easter people. As I heard last Sunday's Gospel reading, it kept resonating in my heart like a neverending echo. So, I thought I'd share why with all of you. In John's Gospel account of Jesus revealing Himself to the disciples on the sea shore, we get such a beautiful picture. First, we are invited to the beach! At the start of summer, this is a very welcome invite. Then, Jesus invites us to have breakfast and our day at the beach gets all the better. What happens next is what catches me most though. Jesus asks Simon Peter, and us, "Do you love me?" three times. Clearly He knows are hearts better than anyother, so really He has no need to ask even once. So why does He? I think the answer to this is quite simple really. If we look back at Our Lord's Passion, we see that Simon Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. This then is his redemption. For each time he denied Christ, he now gets to cover over that blemish with an affirmation of love. Simon Peter has been given an amazing opportunity for renewal, as are we. I know for me this brings great hope! I cannot number the times in which I deny Christ through my actions or inactions. In what I do or do not do, I project to the world at times that 'I do not know this Jesus fellow.' The Easter season for me then becomes an awesome chance to proclaim my love of The Lord and be restored as Simon Peter was, in my heart. But, when we delve further into this Gospel, we see that this redemption is not without price. After Simon Peter says he does love The Lord, Jesus responds with "Feed my lambs," "Tend my sheep," and "Feed my sheep." Well, we know Jesus was a carpenter, so we are not talking about a flock of literal sheep here. He is asking Simon Peter to take care of His people, especially the vulnerable. This call for a response does not stop with Simon Peter, but eternally echoes to each of us. "Feed my lambs." Care for the weak, the meek, the poor, the lost; His little ones who need us. Feed them with whatever He asks of you whether it be through time in service, donations otherwise, or by keeping them tucked in your heart through prayer. Here at St. John's, it seems to be a call for us to, like Simon Peter, proclaim our love of The Lord by better serving and loving our poverty stricken neighbors who stop by for food and whatever else we can provide them with. So we challenge you, along with ourselves, to follow Simon Peter's example by jumping out of the boat and rushing to the shore to meet Our Risen Lord with a heart so open that He can teach us how to tend His sheep.