Third Sunday of Easter - C
1st Reading ACTS 5,27-32.40-41 Psalm 29 Reading 2 REV 5,11-14 Gospel JN 21,1-19
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing”. With these words all creatures adore our Lord and Saviour Jesus. We join in this solemn song which not only is making us one thing with all men, but also with all living creatures, to recognise that the sacrificial Lamb is the source of life and joy, of the communion we can live with all our sisters and brothers and the whole world.
The death Jesus has offered Himself as a sacrifice with is the night which has prepared and come before the splendid light of His resurrection. He is alive, sitting next to God, with Him ruling through love, so we praise Him, we bless Him without ceasing, and without getting tired we recognise His authority on our life, on our thoughts, on our desires, on our friendships, on our plans and on our businesses, big and small.
Peter and the Apostles have suffered patiently through offenses, slander and whipping because they have given to their Lord wisdom and honour, and with joy they have continued without letting themselves being intimidated by the threats of men. They are an example for us, an example we should often recall to face the clear or hidden animosity that always creeps up against the faith in Jesus, anywhere the latter is lived.
The Apostles have been happy to suffer for their Lord’s name: they had the strength and the humility to do so because they have felt united to Peter in answering the question Jesus never stopped making ring in their ears: “Do you love me?”. There is only one possible answer, but when the question is repeated it starts making us think, reflecting on the consequences of a yes, to verify if our love is really truthful. And when the question is repeated for the third time we are trying to remember what happened before, if we have done something without love or against the Lord’s love.
Certainly Jesus continues to repeat His question, and we wait before answering: first, let us correct our intentions, change our focus, remove the feelings of selfishness which rule us almost without us being aware of it. Then we can say with joy: “Yes, I love you, Jesus!” We can say this to Him, but always humbly, with the humility of those who know they have been corrected and guided. “Yes, I love you, Jesus. However, please keep suggesting me how can I behave to love you truly, not only in words, but also with my actions. Correct my instincts, so they will not let themselves being influenced by the vanities of the world, by the selfishness, by the desire to stand out. I love you, Lord Jesus, but you should watch over my love, so it will not stop, will not become weak, will not delude itself of being already complete and firm”.
Jesus has given Peter the task to guard, so to guide, feed, warn of peril and defend, keep together and rest the sheep. We, who are Jesus' sheep, will let ourselves be guided by Peter. The first consequence of the task Jesus has given him thrice is exactly the following for us: if he has received this task, we have received the assignment to obey him, let ourselves be guarded, gathered and fed by him. And then, since we too are trying to answer the question “Do you love me?”, we can ask ourselves also which task Jesus will give us, if not the one to cooperate with Peter. He enjoys our answers, even if they are imperfect. Every time we say we love Him, He believes us and gives us a task inside His Church. In her, nobody can be only a spectator. They who remain spectators in the Church become critics of the brethren, become lazy, someone who do not love anyone, not even Jesus.
Will you start too listening to Him? Jesus gives tasks to you too, and the Lord’s voice will reach you for make use of your energy too in His Holy Church, to spread His kingdom. And the song of praise of the slained Lamb will grow louder and engulf the whole world.