16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Much has been made of the fact that Peter denied Jesus three times and here is given the opportunity to profess his love for Jesus three times. I hope I don’t have to account for every time I have denied Jesus by my actions! Simon would become “Peter” the rock that Jesus would use to build up the church. He would lose his fear of the Jewish leaders and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, until he died at the hands of the Romans.
What are we willing to do once we recognize our own sinfulness? How will we repent and do penance?
We most likely will not have to sacrifice our physical lives, but we will be called upon to make sacrifices. Life is a series of choices. Do I go to work or school? Do I get married? If I do, then I need to be faithful to my spouse. Will I have children? If the answer is yes, then I have to take care of them and I can’t be out partying all the time. Every choice I make limits me in some way. The decision to be a Christian means that I have responsibilities to love others, to work for justice, to keep my promises, etc.
I also am called upon to be a disciple and witness the Good News to others. Sometimes my witness will be in words, but most of the time it is how I live my life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter had the courage to go forth and by that witness, that voice of Jesus in the world in which he lived. We, too, have received the Holy Spirit who will always be there for us when the difficult choices need to be made. All we need to do is ask.
Lord, you gave Simon Peter the chance to proclaim his love for you following his denials. Please give us the opportunity to show our sorrow for our sins and to turn our lives toward you. Amen.