Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 25:13b-21; John 21:15-19)
A Marianist brother, like many people, loved to fish. He used to say that a fisherman takes his watch off, puts his line in the water, and never worries about time. The brother only confirmed other slogans about fishing such as, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office.” Understanding how much fisherman love their occupation helps us appreciate today’s gospel.
Jesus wants Peter to commit himself first and foremost to him. He asks his disciple, “Do you love me more than these?” The question is not meant to show that Peter loves Jesus more than the other disciples love him. How could Peter claim that after denying Jesus publicly three times? No, the question seeks to ascertain if Peter will work for Jesus or will return to fishing. The pronoun “these” refers to the accoutrements of fishing – boat, nets, and lines. When Peter answers Jesus unequivocally, “’Yes…,’” Jesus assigns him the task of leadership of the Church.
We should consider ourselves queried in the same way as Peter. Do we love the Lord more than our own occupations or other interests? Jesus does not necessarily mean that we forego other pursuits. However, he does want us to make him the first priority of our lives. We are to love him more than our work, even more than our children and our very selves. It is a tall order to commit to, and it may take a lifetime before we can comfortably respond, “Yes.” But assent is required if we are to have the eternal life Jesus promises.