Peter, Do You Love Me? Do You Love Me? Do You Love Me?

Have you ever been given a second chance, or perhaps many chances to repair the damage you have done in a relationship with our Lord? I have! Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, God always gives us that second, third, fourth, . . . one thousandth chance to restore what we have damaged by our sins! 
After hearing the gospel reading for Friday, May 17, 2013, I was once again deeply moved, and so felt strongly compelled by the Spirit to share my feelings about this passage. The reading involves Jesus providing Peter with the perfect chance to undo his cowardly denial of him while our Lord endured his passion. Jesus had already forgiven Peter and made atonement for his sins through his passion and death. Jesus is always willing to allow us the opportunity to restore our relationship with him, no matter how serious the offense! This is a powerful illustration of Jesus’ love, mercy, and perfect knowledge of what each one of us needs to be at peace in our relationship with him.

One of the most beautiful things about this exchange between Peter and our Lord is the fact that Jesus lovingly allows Peter the opportunity to express his love for him, not once, but three times, the very same number of times that Peter fearfully denied even knowing him just a short time earlier. Although Peter privately expressed complete and utter sorrow for his act immediately upon realizing what he had done. I’m sure Peter's actions continued to bother him in the recesses of his heart, that is, until the moment Jesus healed this wound with the tender love, compassion, and mercy shown in this gospel account! Has Jesus done this for you? I know he has done it for me! For this, I am eternally grateful!

The gospel reading is from John 21:15-19, and is as follows:

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

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