Friday - Easter Time
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you have appointed shepherds in your Church
to speak your word to us
and to build community in your name.
We pray you today:
May they be shepherds like your Son
who look for those who have lost the way,
bring back the stray, bandage the wounded
and make the weak strong.
May they all be ministers
of your tender love and service,
as Jesus was, your Son and our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 21,15-19
When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered,
'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'
A second time
he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord,
you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.'
Then he said to
him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he
asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything;
you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. In all truth I tell
you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will
put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.'
In these words
he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After
this he said, 'Follow me.'
• We are in the
last days before Pentecost. During the time of Lent the selection of the
Gospels of the day continues the ancient tradition of the Church. Between
Easter and Pentecost, the Gospel of John is preferred. And thus, during these
last days, before Pentecost, the Gospels of the day narrate the last verses of
the Gospel of John. When again we go to Ordinary time, we will go back to the
Gospel of Mark. In the weeks of Ordinary Time, the Liturgy proceeds to a
continuous reading of the Gospel of Mark (from the 1st to the 9th week of the Ordinary Time), of Matthew (from the 10th to 21st week of Ordinary
Time) and of Luke from the 22nd to the 34th week of
• The Gospel
readings for today and for tomorrow speak about the last encounter of Jesus
with his disciples. It was an encounter of celebration, marked by tenderness
and affection. At the end Jesus calls Peter and asks him three times: “Do you
love me?” Only after having received three times the same affirmative response,
Jesus entrusts to Peter the mission of taking care of the lambs. In order to be
able to work in the community Jesus does not ask us many things. What he asks
of us is to have much love!
• John 21.
15-17: Love in the centre of the mission. After a whole night of fishing
in the lake catching not even one fish, they go to the shore, the disciples
discover that Jesus had prepared bread and roasted fish for them. When they
finished eating, Jesus calls Peter and asks him three times: “Do you love me?”
Three times, because Peter denied Jesus three times (Jn 18, 17.25-27). After
the three affirmative responses, Peter also becomes a “Beloved Disciple” and
receives the order to take care of the lambs. Jesus does not ask Peter if he
had studied exegesis, theology, Morals, or Canon Law. He only asks: “Do you love
me?” Love in the first place. For the communities of the Beloved Disciple the
force which supports and maintains united is not the doctrine, but love.
• John 21,
18-19: The foresight of death. Jesus tells Peter: Truly I tell you:
when you were young, you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but
when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a
belt round you and take you where you would rather not go! Throughout life,
Peter and we also, attain maturity. The practice of love will take roots in
life and the persons will not longer be the patrons of their own life. Service
to the brothers and sisters out of love will prevail and will lead us. Somebody
else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go. This
is the meaning of the following. And the Evangelist comments: “He tells him
this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God”. And
Jesus adds: “Follow me.”
• Love in John –
Peter, do you love me? – The Beloved Disciple. The word love is one of
the words which today are more used by us. Precisely, because of this, it is a
word that has been greatly worn out. But the communities of the Beloved
Disciple manifested their identity and their own project by this word. To love
is, above all, a profound experience of relationship among persons in which
there are similar sentiments and values: joy, sadness, suffering, growth,
renunciation, dedication, fulfilment, gift, commitment, life, death, etc. All
these together is summarized in the Bible in one only word in the Hebrew
language. This word is hesed. Its translation in our language is
difficult. Generally, in our Bibles it is translated by charity, mercy,
fidelity or love. The communities of the Beloved Disciple sought to live this
practice of love in a very radical way. Jesus revealed this in his encounters
with persons with sentiments of friendship and tenderness, as for example, in
his relationship with the family of Martha and Mary of Bethany: “Jesus loved
Martha and her sister and Lazarus” He weeps before the tomb of Lazarus (Jn 11,
5.33-36). Jesus always embodies his mission in a manifestation of love: “having
loved his own, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13, 1). In this love, Jesus
manifests his profound identity with the Father (Jn 15, 9). For his
communities, there was no other commandment, except this one “to act as Jesus
acted” (1 Jn 2, 6). This presupposes to love the brethren” (1 Jn 2, 7-11; 3,
11-24; 2 Jn 4-6). Being such a central commandment in the life of the community,
the writings of John define love as follows: “This is the proof of love that
he laid down his life for us and we too ought to lay down our lives for our
brothers”. Our love should not be just words or mere talk but something
active and genuine”. (1 Jn 3, 16-17). Anyone who lives this love and
manifests it in words and attitudes becomes a Beloved Disciple.
• Look within
you and say: which is the most profound reason which impels you to work in the
community? Love or the concern for ideas?
the relationships among us, with God and with nature, what type of community
are we constructing?
5) Concluding Prayer
from the depths
of my being, his holy name;
all his acts of kindness. (Ps 103,1-2)