Friday in the Octave of Easter
(Acts 4:1-12; John 21:1-14)
“The one who loves much, does much.” The Scriptures today witness to this simple test of love in the actions of Peter on behalf of Jesus. Love moves the chief apostle in the reading from Acts to confront the Jewish leaders who recently negotiated Jesus’ execution. In the gospel, love for Jesus compels Peter to jump in the water with his clothes on to greet the risen Lord.
As courageous and spontaneous as Peter’s love for Jesus is, it only shadows Jesus’ love for him and for the rest of us. St. Paul surely captures the heart of the gospel when he writes: “...God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). His death has gained for us the forgiveness of sin. But that is only half of the mystery of God’s love. His resurrection – the other side of the mystery – promises us eternal life.
Peter’s actions suggest how we might show our love for Christ. We too can confront sin by naming it and then doing what is right. For example, rather than tell a lie to avoid paying a tax, we should recognize the falsehood as sin and pay the tax as our contribution to the common good. Also, we should lose no time to meet the Lord in the Eucharist. Coming early to pray quietly and, if possible, to preview the Scripture readings will indicate our desire to know the Lord.