Introduction : John 21:15-19. We conclude the series of Lectio Divina with this text of John’s Gospel. As it was said from the beginning that our approach to the Gospel of John would have been that of the relationships of Jesus with different personalities. A relationship that ends practically with discipleship: ‘Do you love me … then follow me’. So, the discipleship of Jesus is made and born out of love, because he loves them, then he calls them.
- Read: John 21:15-19 slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying? [spend 5 min of silence]
- Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection. The scene of John’s Gospel 21:15-19, brings us to the utter moment of the relationship of Jesus with Peter and his companions. A moment when Jesus, by his unconditional love, shows his gentle and loving mercy to Peter that healed him from his shameful past as he was carrying the burden of guilt for having abandoned and denied three times his Master and Lord. A moment when Peter could expressed and spelled out in the very presence of His Master what he felt about him at that moment and even before His dead: ‘Lord You know everything, you know I love you’ (v 19). From that moment on the community of love begun, the so called Christin community.
Central Message: ‘Simon do you love me more than these others do’? Yes, Lord you know I love you … You know everything … When you were young you walk where you like … but when you grow old somebody else will take you where you would rather not go”.
- ‘Simon do you love me more than these others do’? The gentle and caring questioning of Jesus to Simon came not only as a surprise but as a way of comforting and soothing his wound of the past experience of denial and the failure to stand by his Master during his passion. Although Simon being aware of it, Jesus did not focus on his failure, neither rebuked him for what he did, but he only focused in his capacity to love, that is why he asked Simon three times ‘Do you love me? Simon then was reaffirmed in his leadership and entrusted to him the care of Jesus’ flock. Jesus did not ask him for titles or academic achievements, he only asked him his capacity to love, do you love me? On this love is based the true discipleship of Jesus, and only the one who loves him can answer his call and follow him because Jesus’ call comes from Love.
2.“ Yes, Lord you know I love you … You know everything” Simon knew very well who Jesus was, the ‘Son of God’ (cfr. Mtt 16:16-18), that is why he said “you know everything” . You know I always love you, but my love was limited and weak. You know why I betray you, why I abandoned you. I was afraid to suffer the same fate as you did. I thought I was strong enough to undergo the same suffering as you did. Even I said that I would have given my life for you. But I realised that I was weak and afraid and that I could not do anything alone. I needed it you Lord! I trusted only my own strength and confidence, and all ended up in failure. Simon felt humble and surrender himself to the person of Jesus. His life and his future were practically at the hands of Jesus to do with them as he pleased. Yes Jesus knew that Simon was going to deny him three times (Jn 18:17,25-27) and abandoned him, but in spite of that Jesus’ love for him did not dimmish or change, all the contrary, it reinforced it and confirmed it. Jesus’s love for him was without condition. In fact he was chosen to be the rock where Jesus built his church. (Mtt 16:18).
3.“When you were young you walk where you like … These words of Jesus may reveal that Simon at first was in control of his life and situations, that he could handle anything alone (cfr. Mtt 26:33.35). He was always first and ahead of the other disciple, it was as if all depended on him. Practically he acted as if being in control of everything not knowing that his fall would come and hit him badly. “But when you grow old somebody else will take you where you would rather not go”. Jesus revealed to him that now is no longer the case of being in control but to surrender to God’s will and power and go where he wants him to go. In other words, let God be in control of our lives, our future our destiny. It is a total trust in God.
Some questions for our reflection:
- How would you answer the question Jesus asked Peter, do you love me? How do you love him?
- Do I allow God to be in control of my life? Do I go where he leads me?
- What do I need to do to surrender to God?