“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? 

 
O God, who by the glorification of your Christ
and the light of the Holy Spirit
have unlocked for us the gates of eternity,
grant, we pray,
that, partaking of so great a gift,
our devotion may grow deeper
and our faith be strengthened.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Reading

 

Daily Meditation: 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? - John 21

We move to the post-resurrection account of Jesus meeting his apostles
by the shore of a lake - making them breakfast.
His triple question to Peter must have reminded Peter 
of his triple denial of knowing Jesus, to avoid being arrested.

Each of us can let Jesus ask us that question today:
"Do you love me more than these?"

And, today, we can hear Jesus respond to our promise 
that we do, indeed, love him:
"Then, feed my sheep."

We ask that "our devotion may grow deeper
and our faith be strengthened," through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We can pray, "Lord, with the help of your Spirit,
help me to hear you show me how to feed the sheep
whom you entrust to my care."

And when [Jesus] had said this, he said to [Peter], “Follow me.” - John 21

 

Intercessions: 

Honor and glory to God for ever and ever. 
May he make us rich in hope and in the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Let us pray:

Lord, come to our aid and save us.

Almighty Father,you know that we are weak, even when we pray,
- give us your Spirit to pray on our behalf.

Send forth your Spirit, light of radiant joy,
- to take possession of our hearts.

Lord, we are the work of your hands,
- do not leave us in captivity to our sins.

Help us to show reverence for those who are weak in faith,
- may we never be hard or impatient with them, but always treat them with love. 

 

Closing Prayer: 

Loving Jesus,
You feed me as you fed your disciples on the shore.
and give me new life.

You ask if I love you and I answer as Peter does:
"Lord, you know that I love you."
But like Peter, I know my denials of you 
and I know of your great love and forgiveness for me.
Help me to feed the sheep you place in my life
and love them without judging them.
Soften my heart and teach me not to be hard or impatient with others.

Most of all, loving brother, Jesus,
teach me to hear when you ask me to follow you
and show me the way.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

 
 
Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The Gospel reading for today is one of the most beautiful Bible passages on leadership. Peter is restored to fellowship with Jesus, commissioned, told the cost of service, and then shown the path to a successful ministry.

Before Peter can be a leader, he must be reconciled to Jesus. Earlier in this chapter it says that they ate breakfast around a charcoal fire. It wasn’t just any fire; it was a charcoal fire. John only mentions two charcoal fires in his Gospel. Around the first one, Peter denied Jesus three times. Around this one, Peter declares his love for Jesus three times. Peter must be healed of the events around that first charcoal fire in the purifying presence of Jesus. He had stabbed Jesus in the back. Jesus responds by inviting him to breakfast. No one can effectively lead until they have been purified of those events that the Evil One can use to immobilize them and make them ineffective leaders. I can imagine Peter teaching some young people about faithfulness to Jesus and hear the Evil One whispering in his ear, “You’re a good one to be talking about faithfulness. Don’t you remember that charcoal fire? You denied Jesus three times!” The power of this memory must be broken for Peter to be a bold leader. Jesus breaks it. One by one we must bring our own charcoal fires to Jesus and be healed.

A restored Peter can now be commissioned to serve the people of God. Jesus tells him to feed his lambs and tend his sheep. Pope Francis has made a point to emphasize that you cannot do this from an ivory tower or a closed off office, if that means not being in contact with the sheep. You cannot tend sheep and not get your hands on them. A good shepherd will smell like the sheep and, frankly, sheep stink. They can also get pretty filthy, too. I love the image of the Good Shepherd carrying the sheep that has wandered off from the fold. I was admiring it one day and a friend of mine said, “They cleaned that up.” “What are you talking about,” I responded? He replied, “Have you ever seen the underbelly of a sheep?” He began to describe to this small town boy a sheep that has wandered off and gotten in the muck and the mire of the fields. When the good shepherd picks up that sheep, he’s going to have that muck and mire all over his shoulders. Jesus spent his ministry identifying with sinners. Christian leaders must do the same.

Next, Jesus tells Peter and all leaders the cost of service in his kingdom: death. Peter’s service would end on a Roman cross. Execution may not be the cost for a Christian leader but the only way to be faithful to Jesus is to live a cruciform life and be willing to lay down one’s life for the sheep. And “being crucified” may not come from the hands of outsiders. Sheep can hammer nails, too.

Finally, how can Peter or anyone fulfill this commission? We can work on all of our past charcoal fires and have them cleansed by the Risen Lord. We can learn how to care for others. Tending and feeding can be learned. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live a cruciform life. But, ultimately, there is only one path that we can walk that will show us how to be Christian leaders. Jesus told Peter and us that path when he said, “Follow me.”

by George Butterfield
Creighton University's Law School Library
click here for photo and information about the writer


Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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