Peter’s Redemption

This Gospel is a very important moment in the life of St. Peter, the
first among the apostles of Jesus. We know that Jesus appointed Peter
to be the head of the Church with power to forgive sins, heal the sick
and preach the Good News of the Resurrection. Yet, this was the same
Peter who, during the Passion, denied being a follower of Jesus
because of his fear of physical harm. In other words, he was a coward.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus turns to Peter and asks him three times if he
loves him. Peter understood that Jesus was giving him a second chance,
that Jesus had forgiven him and was re-commissioning him to take care
of his flock. He understood that Jesus loved him immensely and
continued to have faith in him. So Peter was so touched by this and
responded by saying that he loved Jesus. This is a poignant and
emotional scene, and Peter must have answered Jesus with his voice
breaking with emotion.

Jesus is also asking you, “Do you love me?” If you say yes, make sure
you are saying yes not as a super-good or super-upright person but as
a weak and sinful man who nevertheless has experienced the forgiveness
of Jesus as Peter did. Then hopefully we will also have the privilege
to hear Jesus say to us as he said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”