Gospel Reflection – Friday, May 17, 2024 – John 21:15-19 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 25,13b-21)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, King Agrippa and Berenice arrived in Caesarea and went to greet Festus. As they remained there for a few days, Festus explained Paul’s case to the king, saying: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. When I was in Jerusalem, the high priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked me to condemn him. But I answered them that the Romans do not usually hand over a man before the accused has been confronted with the accusers and can defend himself against the accusation.

They came here, and the next day, without delay, I sat in court and ordered the man to be brought. His accusers appeared before him, but brought no accusations of crimes that I could suspect. They only had certain questions about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who has already died, but who Paul claims is alive. I didn’t know what to do to look into the matter. I then asked Paul if he would prefer to go to Jerusalem, to be judged there. But Paul appealed for his case to be reserved to the judgment of the August Emperor. So I ordered him to be imprisoned until I could send him to Caesar.”

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 21,15-19)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Jesus revealed himself to his disciples and, after they had eaten, he asked Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

And he said again to Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” For the third time he asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times if he loved him. He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, I tell you, when you were young, you girded yourself and went wherever you wanted. When you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

Jesus said this, meaning by what death Peter would glorify God. And he added: “Follow me.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of the Lord be with you all on this blessed day. Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: have you ever felt lost, uncertain about the path to follow amidst the turbulence of everyday life? I’m sure each of us can relate to this experience at some point. And it is precisely in these moments of uncertainty that the powerful words of the Holy Scriptures become a guiding light in our lives.

Our readings today invite us to reflect on Jesus’ call to Peter, an invitation for him to follow Him and care for God’s flock. Pedro, a simple fisherman, was chosen and called to a great mission. But before we explore the meaning of these words in more depth, let us transport ourselves to the historical context of the First Reading.

In it, we see Paul being tried before Festus, the Roman governor. Paul is in prison, facing unjust accusations, but his unshakable faith keeps him firm. He is not led astray by the power and influence of the world, but remains grounded in the eternal truth of God. This is a powerful lesson for all of us, especially in a culture that often challenges us to compromise our values and principles.

Now, let us return to the Gospel of John, where we find Jesus restoring Peter after the denial that occurred during the Passion. Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. And, as we know, Peter answers in the affirmative. But there is more than just a simple question here; there is a call to responsibility and service.

Imagine yourself in Peter’s place, on that beach, looking into the loving eyes of Jesus. Pedro, an ordinary man, a fisherman, but also a disciple in love with the Master. Jesus not only forgives Peter, but gives him a sacred task: “Tend my sheep.” These words resonate to this day, as each of us is called to care for one another, to nurture and guide those around us.

Here we find a powerful metaphor for the Christian life. We are called to be shepherds, to imitate the good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Like Peter, we have a responsibility to care for God’s flock. And this is not just limited to the ecclesiastical sphere, but extends to all areas of our lives. Our families, friends, co-workers – they are all sheep who need our loving care.

However, we often feel inadequate for this task. We ask ourselves, “How can I care for others if I am flawed myself?” And that is where God’s grace manifests itself. He does not call us because we are perfect, but because He loves us and empowers us. God’s grace transforms our weaknesses into strength, our doubt into confidence, and our fear into courage.

When we look at Peter’s life after this encounter with Jesus, we see the transformation that occurred in him. He became a courageous and tireless leader in spreading the Gospel, even in the face of persecution and adversity. He understood that his life had a greater purpose, a divine calling that drove him to go beyond himself.

Dear brothers and sisters, this same call is addressed to each of us today. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to love and care for His flock. He invites us to transcend our own limitations and trust in His abundant grace. And when we embrace this calling, we find our lives take on greater meaning and we find deep joy in serving others.

However, being a pastor is not just about caring for others, but also about caring for ourselves. We need to seek the face of God in prayer, strengthen our relationship with Him through reading the Scriptures and participating in the sacraments. Just as a pastor needs to rest and be fed, we also need to feed our souls and rest in God so that we can be renewed in our service.

When we commit to being shepherds in our daily lives, we are challenging the selfish mindset that prevails in our society. In a world that often values individualism and self-promotion, we are called to put others first, to seek the well-being of those entrusted to us.

We may ask ourselves, “How can I care for others when I have so many worries and challenges in my own life?” It is true that we all face difficulties, but it is precisely in the midst of these difficulties that we can find opportunities to exercise compassion and care. A simple smile, a word of encouragement, a gesture of kindness – these small actions can have a significant impact on the lives of those around us.

Allow me to share a story that illustrates this point. Once, a man was walking along a beach full of starfish that had been washed onto the sand by the high tide. He saw a child picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the sea. Curious, the man asked the child what he was doing. She replied, “I’m saving the starfish. If I don’t do this, they will die.” The man looked at the expanse of beach, full of starfish, and said, “But there are so many! What difference will it make?” The child smiled, picked up a starfish and threw it back into the sea, saying: “It made a difference to that one.”

Dear brothers and sisters, every act of love and care we share makes a difference. Let us not underestimate the transformative power of our actions, no matter how small they may be. When we commit to caring for one another, to being shepherds in our own lives, we are reflecting God’s love in a world that desperately yearns for that love.

As we conclude this reflection, I would like to encourage each of you to respond to Jesus’ call in your personal lives. Whether in your family, at work, in the community or wherever you find yourself, be willing to be a shepherd, to care for God’s flock.

Let us remember Jesus’ words to Peter: “Tend my sheep.” These words echo in our hearts today, and it is through God’s grace that we are enabled to fulfill this calling. Embrace this calling with joy and confidence, knowing that God is with you every step of the way.

At this time, I invite you to take a moment of silence, to reflect on how you can be shepherds in your own lives. Think of a specific action you can take this week to show love and care for others. May the Holy Spirit guide and inspire you in this reflection.

Dear brothers and sisters, may the words we hear today from Scripture be not just spoken words, but a call to action. May God’s grace be with us as we seek to be shepherds in our daily lives. And that, in doing so, we can witness God’s love to the world, bringing healing, hope and transformation.

May the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church, guide us on our journey of faith and intercede for us with her Son Jesus. May God bless us all and grant us the courage and wisdom to live according to the teachings of the Scriptures. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.