Fri 18th May 2018
7th Week of Easter

St John I, Pope and martyr

Acts 25:13-21
Ps. 103(102):1-2,11-12,19-20
Jn. 21:15-19     (Ps. Wk III)

It is difficult for those who live the ways of the world to understand Jesus or his followers. Festus didn't know what to make of Paul — he could not find any real reason why anyone should be upset with him. He only thought in terms of laws and power. Agrippa was intrigued, but he was no better. Later, Paul chided both Festus and Agrippa for their failure to understand. The message of Jesus is only really understood with the heart and with humility.

Three times Peter denied Jesus, and three times, Jesus made him squirm with his question: Do you love me? To each of Peter’s affirmations, Jesus insisted that he feed the sheep and tend the lambs. This is the model of Christian leadership — laying down one's life for the flock and caring for their happiness and well-being.

It’s not about wealth, prestige, titles, or power. As Pope Francis insists, the shepherd should smell like the sheep. Jesus even told a rather upset Peter that he too would suffer martyrdom, and he ended his dialogue with the command, “Follow me!” That is addressed to all who claim to follow Jesus. It’s not a free ride — we are called to continue his work.

Lord, may I always care for the needs of others.