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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thoughts on Friday's Gospel

Friday's Gospel presents Jesus on the beach asking Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Asking this question can be particularly difficult as I can especially remember in my years of dating long ago. For in asking this question, Jesus makes himself vulnerable. He opens himself up to hearing Peter respond negatively, for Peter, like all of us are entirely free to respond either "Yes, Lord I love you" or to respond "No, I don't love you".

If we respond "Yes" there are certain responsibilities placed upon us in caring for and tending the other brothers and sisters of Jesus that we encounter every day. But there is even more here, Jesus tells Peter that in his youth he goes where he wishes but when he is old, "someone will dress you and lead you where you do not wish to go". How true that is for those who minister! We may often think that the difficulty is to spend time with those in need, but the real difficulty is allowing others to do things for you that you feel you should do for yourself. We place a lot of importance in our ability to bathe ourselves, to feed ourselves, and to dress ourselves as signs of our dignity and our self-respect. How difficult it is to accept losing our ability to do these things to become the one who is helpless. In old age we enter again into the helplessness we had as children, yet we know that things will not ever improve - in this life. Can we make ourselves vulnerable as Jesus did? Can we ask Jesus if he loves us? Can we listen to his answer?


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