3 June
Jn 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’ This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

At an earlier time Peter sounded very courageous, even heroic.  “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you” (Jn 13:37).  As events unfolded, he failed to live up to his brave talk, preferring instead to save his own skin.  That was a profound lesson in humility, and he was now a more truthful man for it. 

Today’s passage is the closing scene of John’s gospel, and in it Peter is invited once again by Jesus to “Follow me!”  Peter is now in a better position to understand what following Jesus will involve.  Jesus spells out the cost of that love that Peter has just professed three times (yesterday’s reading).  In his youth Peter was able to follow his own sweet will, but now “you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (verse 18). 

Peter has been given a leadership role in the community: “Feed (or tend) my sheep.”  He can have no illusions about what that will entail.  He will not lord it over others; instead, like the Good Shepherd, he will give his life for them.  He was crucified during the persecution by Nero in the mid-sixties of the first century.


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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