Sunday, April 14, 2013

Peter's Love: A Guest Post by Dawn Meyer

Enjoy this uplifting reflection on today's Gospel written by my friend, Dawn Meyer. 

This Sunday's Gospel gives us Peter, at the Sea of Tiberius, after Jesus' death and Resurrection.  (For the whole Gospel, read John 21:1-19. )

Peter's back in his boat, letting his net fall into the water.  He realizes that he "wasn't in his boat because he wanted to go fish, but because he wanted Jesus.  One day he had encountered the Master while casting his nets, he had encountered him in this same boat, doing the things he was doing now.  He now realized that he could do nothing, experience nothing without desiring that Jesus be present with him, in his midst..."  (Dom Maura Giuseppe Lepori, abbot general of the Cistercian Order, excerpt taken from Magnificat)

Where do we, like Peter, search for Jesus?  Knowing that we can do nothing without Him, where do we go to find Him, while we're here on earth?  Do you seek Him in the sacraments, where He fills us with His grace and love?  Do you seek Him in Adoration, in the silence of your heart, in front of the Blessed Sacrament?  Or do you seek Him in the warm embrace you share with a loved one or a friend?  Do you seek Him in the smile you give to the stranger passing by?  Do you seek Him in your daily life, at the grocery store, while you're pumping gas into the car, or when you're taking out the garbage?  He's in our midst, in the mundane and in the sublime.  He's there.  Just like He was there for Peter, when Peter desired to be with Jesus so much that he got into his boat to fish, hoping to find the Lord. 

After Peter sat in his boat all night, catching zip, not even one fish, who does he see standing on the shore when daylight breaks? Jesus!  The Lord tells the Apostles to cast their nets over the right side of the boat and after they obediently do so, the net is so full of fish they can't even pull it back up! 

Jesus knew they needed Him.  He knew Peter missed Him.  He knew that they needed to be nourished, not just physically with the fish, but they needed His presence, His Divine Love, to nourish and strengthen their souls so that they could carry out the mission He gave them... go out and proclaim the Gospel!  And so it is with us.  WE need to be nourished by Jesus' Divine presence, by His Body and Blood, by His grace freely given in the sacraments.  WE need all the Love that He gives us through the sacraments, but especially through the Eucharist, so that we, like the Apostles, can share that Love with those around us and transform the world! 

One more thing.  After the Apostles finish eating breakfast with Jesus, after He nourishes them with His Divine Presence, He longs to hear what Peter holds in his heart.  He asks Peter: "Simon, Son of John, do you love me?"

"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." (Was he thinking, "Lord, I love you so much, I went out in my boat in the middle of the night, not to fish, but just to feel close to you!"?) 
We know what happens next.  Jesus asks Peter the same question twice more and Peter answers the same way..."Yes, Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you."  Jesus thirsts for Peter's love!  
And doesn't He also thirst for your love?
After He gives Himself to you in Holy Communion, He longs to hear you proclaim your love for Him, just as He longed to hear Peter express his love for Him.  When we kneel after receiving Jesus, we can silently proclaim our love for Him who now dwells in us:  "I love you, Lord.  Thank you for staying with me, thank you for imprisoning Yourself in the Eucharist for me and nourishing me with Your infinite Love!"  He wants us to lavish our love, the love that He gives us first, on Him! 
Peter's story is our story.  Aren't we just like Peter, waiting in the boat, searching for Jesus?  We long to be with Jesus.  We long to feel His love.  And in His goodness, Jesus is waiting for us on the shores of our lives.  He comes to us and nourishes us with His Divine Presence, with His love, each and every time we receive Him in Holy Communion.  And just like Peter, we realize that once Jesus is present in our lives, united in love with us....we can do anything.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13


  1. I liked how my pastor commented on the word "love" used by Jesus and Peter. In the original Greek they were two different words. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with a self-giving love, but Peter answered that he loved Him like a pal. The Gospel gives us all the lesson that we are called to love with a self-giving love, which is what you son was confirmed to do.

    (Great picture, btw, and it seems a very wise bishop.)

  2. Tom, I've heard that explanation before, about Peter replying that he loved Jesus like a pal, can't remember exactly where, but your words resonate with me. I like how you brought your explanation of self-giving love to include the self-giving that my now-confirmed son is to give to others. And yes, Bishop Sklba is very wise. Thanks for your comment!