John 21:15-19 Reflection: Follow Me

A reading from the gospel according to John 21:15-19:

15 After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16 He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a 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.
18 Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19 He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Reflection: Follow me

Let us recall how Simon Peter denied Jesus three times. In the gospel reading above, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him! Three times Peter answered in the affirmative and Jesus told him to feed and care for His sheep. Then in verse 19, He asked Peter to follow Him.

Jesus is not someone who is insecure about the love of another but He wanted Peter to verbalize, that is to profess or affirm, his love for Him. He also wanted to show to Peter that His past failures do not matter anymore but his love for the Lord is what matters most. Jesus does not condemn. He restores and leads His sheep to greener pastures.

Surely Jesus wanted Peter to follow in His footsteps as a Good Shepherd who will now take over the leadership of His flock since Jesus is now going back to His Father. Since Peter has now professed his love for Jesus, he is no longer free to do what he wanted or go where he wanted. From now on, He is a “slave” of Jesus who is his Master. He is going to follow what his Master wanted him to do. His work is the work of his Master.

Let us remember too that in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He called Peter to become a fisher of men. It does not matter what his background is. He has been trained for three years. After Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit and when Peter was empowered, he took his mission seriously. Yet when he died, he was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his master. That is Peter, the ordinary fisherman who was anointed to lead in the great mission of saving the world.

Jesus is asking you the same question: Do you love me? May you have the same answer as Peter. God bless you.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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