On the shores of Lake Tiberias as the sun is piercing the darkness, Jesus in all His risen glory has prepared a charcoal fire with some bread and fish. Jesus, ever the gracious host, offers His friends a moment of respite from their Easter confusion and persistent fear.
When John noticed that it was Jesus who was speaking to them, they quickly came ashore to be reunited with their friend and their Lord. It is in this peaceful setting that Jesus breaks in with His question: “Simon Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter answers yes although with increasing discomfort. And each time Jesus points him to others: Then feed my lambs, tend my sheep. Do you love me, then love them. Do you love me, then share that love with others.
The message is clear and I think we have not only heard the message but have lived it. If anything, I think we live with too much pressure, too many responsibilities. We are far too busy and our lives are filled with far too much noise.
Therefore, we might hear these questions of Jesus in a slightly different way: Do you love me? Well, before you answer, there may be another question: Do you ever spend time with me? How can we say we love Jesus if we never spend time with Him? How can we continue to love one another if we never gain the strength we need from Christ to remain faithful?
For example, how do you begin your day? Do you first turn on cable news or open the newspaper? Why begin this good day by disturbing your mind and cluttering your heart with all the bad news of yesterday? Why become discouraged before you can even open your eyes to hope?
I suggest a different way to begin. I suggest we begin our day with a few moments with Christ. The day will contain many things: some routine, some new, some welcome surprises, some disasters. We need a heart open and free to even begin to face the day and Christ can give us this heart. You might open the Bible and read a brief passage and then talk to Christ. You might say the Rosary or repeat the Jesus Prayer: “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.”= You might ask Jesus to walk with you where you need Him the most.
Do you love me? Do you ever spend time with me?