Do you love me?

John 21:15c

Friday, 29 May 2020

Acts 25:13b–21; Psalm 103:1–2, 11–12, 19–20b; John 21:15–19.

There are two issues today: prophecy and wisdom. In the first reading, the Roman procurator Festus refers Paul’s case to King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice. In St Luke’s Gospel Jesus had told his disciples that they would be paraded “before kings and governors” because of his name. We see this prophecy fulfilled with St Paul at Caesarea and later before the emperor in Rome. A second prophecy is fulfilled in Peter’s reconciliation with Jesus, after previously denying him three times, he now professes his love for Jesus. Jesus responds saying ‘Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.’ In this way Peter is designated the shepherd to Jesus’ flock. A few weeks ago we celebrated the Good Shepherd, and Jesus taught, “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. Our readings, then, tell of the prophecy of how Peter would die and so glorify God.

Can we trust in the prophecy that we can hear with the ears of faith?

The second issue is to notice how Jesus deals with Peter. Jesus asks Peter to you love me? In English we only have one word for love, but Jesus, in the Greek, asks Peter do you agape me? And Peter responds twice with Yes Lord, I philo you.’ Finally Jesus asks Peter ‘do you philo me’ and Peter says ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I philo you.” Agape was the higher form of love than philo-love (love of friends and relatives) The lesson I learn from this is that Jesus always meets us where we are. Even if he calls us at first to something greater, he will always meet us where we are.

Who are the wise prophets in our lives? Do I let Jesus meet me where I am?

Loving Father, I thank you for sending your Son, from the beginning of time, for me in these days. Help me to listen to the wise prophets in my life, and to always praise you.


Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia. @mcharlesworth
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