Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 25:13b-21; John 21:15-19)
The retired fisherman explained to his guest what his life was like. He said that he set out to sea in the middle of the night. There he placed his nets and waited for them to fill up. Then he hauled in his catch and brought the fish to market. He was one with nature, close to God, feeling free and challenged to transcend human limitations. In the gospel today Jesus tells Peter to give up this vigorous life for the more troubling task of serving his people.
Jesus calls Peter “’Simon, son of John’” to indicate the seriousness of his request. Then he poses the question, “’…do you love me more than these?’” “These” likely refers to the boat and gear that Peter uses in fishing. When Peter assures Jesus that he does, Jesus issues his order to feed his flock. But he is demanding of Peter more than that he abandon a fulfilling livelihood. Because he will be taking Jesus’ place, Jesus is preparing Peter to give up his life.
“Mary, do you love me more than your job teaching?” “Joseph, do you love me more than work programming computers?” We should hear Jesus asking of each of us a similar question. No, he is likely not going to tell us to give up our occupations. But he does want us to prioritize. We are to love him first – more than husband or wife, job or career, food or sport. When we do so, we will find that we will be able to love everyone and everything, even ourselves, all the better.