Gospel Reflections

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

John 21:15-19

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Katy Webster

Published: June 29, 2014

Read John 21:15-19

Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and, when they had finished breakfast, said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me... Read More…

The Gospel opens with the disciples on the beach. Peter says: "I’m going fishing." One can even imagine what he is thinking or feeling: "That's what I know how to do." After years of the exciting, conflictual, hopeful, challenging journey with Jesus, after the despair of the assassination, and then the confusion of some appearances of Jesus after his death, the disciples are alone on the beach again discouraged, aimless, and so return to what is familiar, comfortable, "Let's go fishing. "

They fish all night without catching any fish. They meet up with Jesus who tells them to throw their net in again and it fills with fish. Once on the shore, Jesus has bread and roasted fish already waiting. Even so, Jesus asks them to bring a few more fish from their catch. They think, "Who are you?" but already they know and do not dare ask out loud. Again they share the bread and fish. At this point the disciples must have been waking up, and thinking, "Here comes something."

Jesus turns to Peter and asks three times: "Do you love me?" Peter replies, "yes," even getting hurt that Jesus asks three times. Here comes the heart of history: to love Jesus is to take a path over which we have no control and leads to persecution. We go willingly (extend hands to be tied) but we have no control over the result (We go where we do not want to go). We do not want to go but at the same time we want to love and to love is to follow, and this action has consequences. The disciple answers the call freely, without considering the consequences. We respond together.

The set of three readings gives us the contents of following Jesus: proclaim the name of Jesus, the Good News that he not only spoke, but lived, feeding and caring for his flocks. What is this? It is to love, putting ourselves on the side of the poor and impoverished, as Jesus did. This is to live in such a way that on the one hand we confront the structures that promote and protect greed for power and wealth, and on the other hand work for justice and freedom and nourish the happiness of everyone. We fight for justice, share, protect nature, all the while in knowing that there are forces of greed that will react and persecute.

In the actions and dialogue of the Gospel, the disciples embrace the new reality. Jesus is present, but in a different way; the disciples are the ones who have to take action. At these events by the sea, in the encounter with Jesus, the disciples once again undertake the mission of proclaiming the Good News, which the reading of Revelation celebrates.

We ask ourselves:

• How do I answer the question Jesus puts to Peter?

• How am I proclaiming the name of Jesus with my life?

• How do I care for Jesus’ flock and resist the forces of greed and power that would massacre them?


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