Third Sunday of Easter April 10, 2016
Reading 1 Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Responsorial Psalm Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
- (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Reading 2 Rev 5:11-14
Gospel Jn 21:1-19
3rd Sunday of Easter, April 10, 2016
Today I want to talk about the very last part of the Gospel we just heard, when Jesus and his disciples had finished eating a breakfast of some bread the fish they had just caught. Let’s try and put ourselves into that scene and imagine that we are a part of the little group sitting on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. I tried doing this as I read this Gospel last week as I was preparing this homily.
Let me share with you what happened. I imagined myself as Simon Peter. We had finished our breakfast of bread and fish but I would rather have had some bacon and eggs. But it was good to be with Jesus and the other guys, so I didn’t complain.
I imagined that Jesus called me by my first name, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you love me? Then he asked me a second time, “Do you love me?” As if that wasn’t enough, he asked me a third time, “Do you love me?” I was getting kind of perturbed. Well, what could I say? Without thinking I said, “Yeah, sure, of course I love you, Jesus. Doesn’t everybody? Or at least almost everybody? “
That just wasn’t enough for Jesus. Actually to love means more, so much more than simply saying, “Yeah, sure, of course I love you,” because after each time I answered him, Jesus gave me a job. He said, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep. I didn’t fully understand, but it became clear a bit later.
For the past two weeks or so, we had been hearing about, and thinking about, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Now the time had come for us to do something about it.
Recall the last line of today’s gospel. “When Jesus had finished speaking he said to Simon Peter, “Follow me.” In just two words that was the message Jesus had for us.
To all of us – children, teenagers, young adults, middle agers and golden agers (like me) Jesus is saying, “Follow me.”
And “follow me,” means live my gospel, live a life of faith, hope and love. Live the gospel of justice and fair treatment of all. Live the gospel that calls us out of fear and selfishness into the light and freedom of God’s sons and daughters. It is also the gospel that compels us to die to sin, in order that we may arise as Jesus did.
No easy, romantic love here. This is tough love, demanding love, unconditional love, sacrificial love.
Love like Jesus loves us. Can you do it? Can I do it? Let’s give it a try!