Do You Love Him?

After his resurrection, Jesus showed himself on a number of occasions to his disciples. One time, on the Lake of Tiberias, Peter, together with some of the other disciples, went fishing throughout the night. It was something that they were very accustomed to doing. Perhaps the familiarity of fishing gave them some consolation and helped them sort things out, after having experienced the most extraordinary events of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, in the previous days.

At daybreak, Jesus was standing on the shore, and asked if they had any luck catching any fish. When they answered “Nothing,” Jesus told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. And they hauled in a great number of fish. It was only then that they recognized Jesus, who invited them to have breakfast with him on the shore.

After breakfast, Jesus gently asked Simon Peter three times if Peter loved him. There was no rebuke from Jesus, which Peter would have justly deserved and expected for denying knowing the Lord three times when he was arrested. And Peter answered three times that he loved Jesus. It must have been a poignant moment for Peter when the Lord gave him the chance to redeem himself and affirm his love face to face. “Follow me.” Jesus then entrusts the care of his flock, the people he has saved, to Peter, the first Pope, the Vicar of Christ.

At the end of our life, Jesus will not ask us how successful we were or what great things we did. He will ask, “Do you love me?” We pray that we can answer with our whole being like Simon Peter did, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”