FRIDAY, SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER (St Charles Lwanga and Companions)
Acts 25:13-21; Ps 103:1-2,11-12,19-20; Jn 21:15-19
LOVE DEMANDS A LOVING RESPONSE
Love is a personal choice and a gift freely given – it is the benevolent giving of oneself to another. In the gospel passage, Jesus asks Simon Peter: ‘Simon Son of John, do you love me more than these?’ Here the word ‘these’ refers to something Peter held dearly. It could be fish he had just caught, his success, dreams, accomplishments, or his whole life. Therefore, by asking the question, Jesus is demanding from Simon, the greatest love for Him. Not only did Jesus want Peter’s love but he wanted to help him to recover his wounded heart. By giving him the experience of His loving embrace Jesus wanted to entrust His flock to Him.
Jesus never looks at our weaknesses but our love for Him. Peter’s answer revealed his change of heart. Jesus knew that despite the struggles in his heart, Peter truly loved Jesus. He knew the crucible of inner struggles Peter endured after denying Jesus and that grace and the love of Jesus changed him. It had set him on a new path. Jesus is also asking us, do you love me, more than these? As fallen, stubborn, sinful human beings we give our hearts away to so many things that keep us away from the love of Jesus. Loving Jesus from the heart is the result of experiencing His abundant graces in our soul.
Love is the main thing to focus on in our relationship with Jesus. Loving Jesus requires that we be restored when we have sinned against Him. Every moment we need to allow ourselves to die to our old self in us so that we become new in Christ. Something wonderful happens in our heart when we open ourselves to Jesus, when we confess our love for Him. Jesus understands each of our circumstances and our daily sufferings. He does not condemn us when we fail in our capacity to love Him and to serve Him. Instead, he confirms His love for us and restores anyone who seeks forgiveness.
Response: The Lord has fixed his throne in heaven.
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