Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Peter stands on the sea shore with Jesus, having just experienced His forgiveness. The first time he stood with Jesus on the very same shore, Jesus was saying, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” Now he has been made a shepherd of sheep; it is the task of others, now, to do the fishing.
Then the apostle hits a snag: he sees the one member of the Twelve who did not run away, who not only had the honor of reclining close to Jesus at the Last Supper but remained close to Him until the very end. Peter is having a hard time letting go: “Lord, what about him?”
What does Jesus do to tear him loose of his shame? “You follow me.” He reminds Peter of that first invitation, of the beginning of their relationship: “Follow me.” We’ve all sinned; we’ve all fallen short of where we desire to be in our spiritual life, our vocations as Christian men and women, and our baptismal call to continue the Father’s work in the world, after Jesus’ example. Christ does not want us to compare ourselves to any other person and wish that we were as holy as they are, as talented, as blessed; He chose you just as He chose them. We cannot let our regret and our shame overcome our gratitude and our love for Christ to the point that we forget that moment in our lives when Jesus said, “Follow me,” and we did. When we are distracted or paralyzed, as Peter was today, turn to Christ and take the next step toward Him. Has He withheld a single grace from us?
We forget at times that the Good Shepherd, in laying out the Way before us, all the way to the arms of the Father, passed through every aspect of human life: birth and death, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, success and failure. Though He has gone before us, He has not departed from us and, being members of His Body, He is not aloof from our every lived experience such that we are left alone. We have one another, we have the Church, and we have our shepherds: we have Christ and tomorrow, as though He were not enough, He gives us yet more…