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Loved by God

  • June 4, 2022 (readings)
  • Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
  • Maribeth Harper
  • John 21:20-25

    Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?” It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

    Encountering Christ:
     

    1. How Would You Be Known?: John described himself as the one “whom Jesus loved.” To our ears, it sounds like John was making a bold proclamation, calling attention to himself as the Lord’s favorite. Yet, each of us could say the same about ourselves. We are all individually, personally loved by Jesus.We are all free to place our heads on Jesus’ chest, metaphorically. If we understood the depth of the love Jesus has for us, we would not hesitate to describe ourselves as “the one whom Jesus loves.”
    2. What about Him?: By asking Jesus, “What about John?” Peter jeopardized his potential for interior peace, according to Linda Dillow, author of Calm My Anxious Heart. “Never compare your lot with another’s,” she said, because comparing is a recipe for discontentedness. This tendency we all have displeases Jesus as well, as we can deduce by his answer to Peter: “What concern is it of yours?” We immediately stymie our progress on the path to holiness when we allow ourselves to be distracted by the success of others. Each of us has a singular, unrepeatable mission, unique gifts, and all the grace we need to succeed. Let us take to heart Jesus’ command to Peter, “Follow me,” and use our energy to accomplish the mission he gave each of us.
    3. Beware of Misinterpretations: As students of the Master, the disciples must have mulled over Jesus’ words and actions, discussing them and trying to interpret them so that they could one day teach and preach. They may have also occasionally fallen into unhealthy speculation at times, because they misinterpreted Jesus’ comment to Peter, “What if I want him to remain until I come?” assuming that John would live forever. It’s a warning for those of us who spend time with the word, write and preach the truths of Jesus, and pastor others. We are blessed with the Holy Spirit, the rich tradition of the Church, and scholarly works to guide us, but the most reliable way to interpret Scripture for ourselves and others is to approach our responsibility prayerfully, with sincerity, purity of intention, and humility.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, help me to grow in my understanding of your love for me more each day. When I am full of this awesome truth, I am much less inclined to concern myself with how others are doing. Knowing you love me stirs my humility. I am grateful for your revelation through the word. Help me to be a good steward of your message of salvation.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will practice gratitude for the opportunities I have to read your word and share your message of love with others. 

    For Further Reflection: “Fighting the Urge to Compare Yourself to Others,” by Nancy Flanders at Catholic Digest.


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