Easter Season with the First Disciples: St. Peter
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”
Having denied Jesus three times—as the Lord had predicted at the Last Supper—Peter was given a chance to make things right. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” Peter answered each time. And a relationship that was damaged by his denial was re-established by his affirmation of love.
But Jesus wanted more than just words. “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep,” Jesus told Peter. Jesus teaches me that love is more than just saying the words, “I love you.” Peter had to enflesh his words with actions.
That is how I understand faith—it is the enfleshing of love. In Peter’s case, his faith took the form of being the shepherd to the flock (that is, the early Church). And while I’m not called to the priesthood or religious life, I have a vocation that is just as important—that of a husband. I cannot simply tell my wife I love her. I have to live it. After all, anyone can say, “I love you.” That requires no great sacrifice. But to feed and nourish another person—that requires a sacrifice that is truly Christlike.
by Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints
► Read New Life in Front of Me by Becky Eldredge.
► Read Praying in Resurrection Joy by Chris Sullivan.