Love Asks for Love

Love asks us to live in its image,
after its likeness, in God’s own image.

On John 21:15-19,

In the holy Gospel according to John, the last appearance of Jesus after he rose from the dead was when he showed himself to seven of his disciples on the shore of a lake.

In that encounter, Jesus asked for love.

Simon … do you love me more…?

Before his death, Jesus had said:

I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hireling and not a shepherd,
whose own the sheep are not,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees.
[John 10:11-12]

And just so, in the garden of Gethsemane, Simon Peter saw the wolf come for Jesus the Good Shepherd, and Simon the hireling ran away.

The wolf killed Jesus, but he rose from the dead, and he commanded Simon four times to be a good shepherd and follow him.

Feed my lambs.
Tend my sheep.
Feed my sheep.
Follow me.

Going on, Jesus foretold that Simon would in the end lay down his own life for Jesus’ flock, so that by by death he would glorify God.

At Mass, the Good Shepherd comes to us from his Gospel as well as from his altar.

Upon his altar, Jesus upholds himself as the Lamb of God: in his true Body given up for us, and in his true Blood poured out for us in death by which he did glorify God.

Sometimes we flock as sheep to Jesus, and we hear his voice, as he would have it, and we follow him, as he would have it.

But at other times we may tear into him as wolves, wanting our own way, thinking Jesus is there merely to satisfy our needy hungers.

And, at other times, like hirelings, we take our pay from the altar, but then we run away, frightened of the work Jesus gives us:
work on ourselves and on our needed ongoing conversions,
work with others and for them,
work with God and for God.

From his altar, Jesus invites us to eat and drink the new and eternal covenant in his Body and Blood, and to do in his memory what he does.

Take, this is my Body given up for you.
Take, this is my Blood poured out for you.
Do this in memory of me.

Memory of him urges us to give up our bodies in serving the good of others and to pour out our blood in serving the good of others.

Memory of him pushes us to be the Love that we eat and drink.

Loving memory of him lets his Body and his Blood and his Gospel burn within our hearts.

Do you love me more?
Follow me.

Ongoing Conversion
Ongoing Conversion

Published by Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, O.S.B.

Benedictine Monk and Priest of Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside, California, in the Order of Saint Benedict

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