Gospel: Jn 21:15-19
After they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Look after my sheep.” And a third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus then said, “Feed my sheep! Truly, I say to you, when you were young, you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will put a belt around you, and lead you where you do not wish to go.” Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And he added, “Follow me!”
Do you love me more than these do? While Jesus was being tried by the Sanhedrin, Peter thrice denied knowing him. At Lake Tiberias, the Risen Lord asked Peter thrice if he loved him, not because Jesus needed an apology from Peter but because Peter needed to receive God’s mercy. Jesus’ last experience of his disciples upon his arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane was desertion. And yet the Risen Lord, upon appearing to them, called them friends, did not demand an accounting for their betrayal and commissioned them to proclaim the Gospel. For Peter, the encounter with the Risen Lord was a profound experience of God’s mercy.
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