Weekend Reflections for 7/4/14
Do you love me?
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?"and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep."(John 21:17)
In English usage today, "love" is a very ambiguous word. It seems to mean so many different things with so many different nuances: I love apple pie; I love my dog; I love my spouse; I love music; I love God. Clearly these are not all the same meaning of love! People say things like: "All you need is love" or "it's OK if we love one another."
I wonder what Peter is thinking when he hears "Simon, do you love me?" and responds to Jesus, "... you know that I love you."
While there are many conceptions of love, Jesus says: Love one another as I love you! This "love" is a love which is self-giving, with no strings attached, without self-interest, which gives everything for the other, which does not count the cost, which lasts to death and beyond.
It is only one who tries to love like this that can be the shepherd in the steps of the Good Shepherd. It is only one who tries to love like this that will lay down his life for the sheep. Jesus sees in Peter this great love and so he can say to him, "Feed my sheep."
How do I answer Jesus' question: Do you love me? What does this question even mean to me? How do I love and with what kind of love? How do I respond to Jesus?