by Watchman Upon the Wall
Gospel Reading: St. John 21: 15-19
St. John certifies that the audience which the blessed Apostles had, as mentioned in last Sunday's and today's reading is the third one after the resurrection of our Lord and Redeemer. In today's reading we concentrate on the discourse Our Lord had with St. Peter. Though the message of our Lord's sayings are meant for all the Apostles alike, He addresses St. Peter and entrusts the master plan of salvation of the entire mankind through the Apostles. Our Lord's question is repeated thrice as the answer from St. Peter was also for thrice. And the final word of our Lord was also the same after the question and answer for three times.
Our Lord's question for the three times was "do you love me?" First time our Lord asked "do you love me more than these people around you?" What our Lord might have meant while asking so? It is very clear that He had loved St. Peter much more than his colleagues. Our Lord meant: "I loved you too much. But did you respond positively?" The question is very significant in the contemporary world also. We could say that our Lord is continuing the same question asking each and every one of us. Let us evaluate the love we have received enjoyed by all of us so far. As far as I am concerned I had been a lost sheep of my loving Shepherd. I was little smart among my friends and colleagues. My shepherd used to call us by name when He used to take us out to the green pastures for rearing. In those days I used to run in the front of all with the intention to eat more tender leaves. Actually when I longed for selfish motives, Satan influenced me more. One day Satan advised me to jump into the thick forests while all the sheep came to a deep curve on the road. I jumped into the forest without showing myself to my Lord. I lost my directions shortly and I ran here and there through the thorns and bushes. I did not get tender leaves or water and I got into the forests. Within a day itself I got exhausted. When I jumped I was trapped among wild thorns and from the wounds blood wooed. I cried for help and no one was there for my rescue. In the meantime my shepherd was looking for me, wandering all over calling my very name. When he came into the wild forest in search of me, I recognized my Master's voice and I tried in maximum voice. My Lord saw me. He suffered a lot to save me from the thorny bushes. And finally he has given his own blood to retain my life. Still what is my love to my Lord and savior? He is asking me every now and often, "do you love me more than the people around you."
When our Lord asked St. Peter, he answered very openly "Lord you know that I love you". If we all were in his place, what would have been our answer? Can we imagine? In my opinion, we might remain silent all on a sudden, rather than answering our Lord. If one is doing the will of God, it means that he/she loves God. How many of us could claim that we are doing the will of God? What is God's will concerned with each and every one of us? It is very simple. He wants us to love God and love our neighbors. That is the end of the will of God. Let us withdraw our daily steps into the selfish desires and motives. Let us love God and love our fellowmen.
When Lord Jesus heard the answer of St. Peter, He told him, "Ok you feed my sheep." A real shepherd would give his own life for the sheep entrusted with him. A real shepherd must hold self giving love. Let us pray for our shepherds. May God Almighty enable them to be perfect and noble shepherds.
Our Lord continuously asks us "do you love me". Would we be able to give the answer "yes my Lord, I do love you." Our Lord desires to entrust the shepherd ship of His sheep. Let us pray for His sheep and serve them in a better way and manner.
May God bless us all.
Restoring Simon Peter
by Rev. Fr. George T, Ireland
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