The Third Sunday of Easter [C]
Acts 5:27-32,40-41 + Revelation 5:11-14 + John 21:1-19
April 10, 2016
“Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.”
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” If you consider the way that the evangelist refers to this same person, you notice that after the answer is given, John refers to him simply as “Peter”. We know that the name Peter means “rock”, and that it is upon this rock that Jesus built His Church. Nonetheless, until Peter repented publicly three times, in order to make up for his three-fold public denial of Jesus in the courtyard after Jesus’ arrest, Peter could not serve as the person Jesus wanted him to be.
Only by assuring Jesus that he loved Him could he accept the name “Peter”, and so accept the call to be the leader of the Church after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. And so, in Jesus accepting Peter’s repentance, He also gives Peter a new command: “Feed my sheep.” Peter was not only to be “rock-solid”, so to speak, in preaching the Gospel. Peter was also to tend to the entire flock of those who follow Jesus: everyone, throughout the world, who professes to be a Christian.
This reconciliation between Jesus and Peter had to take place before Jesus could ascend to Heaven. Without the Rock of Peter to rely upon, the Church could not begin its mission at Pentecost. Pray for Pope Francis as the successor of Saint Peter. Pray for all Christians, that they may accept the gift of the papacy, and the man who serves in our world as Peter, as gifts from Jesus to help draw all of us into deeper union with each other and with God.