Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He ate breakfast with them. God is so down to earth, literally and figuratively. It’s almost scary. “After he had eaten breakfast with them…”
It appears as though the Apostles make little to no attempt to hide Christ’s humanity – frailty - from the world. What a welcomed difference from mythical and power-seeking gods! But why is that? I think it is because the Lord did not hide it from them. But why the honesty? Because there is strength and beauty in weakness and humility. At first, I suspect the Apostles were a bit taken aback by the fact that God got tired, thirsty and hungry, but then they got over it when he began to walk on water, touch lepers, and multiply bread. Even back then, these things were unheard of and hardly believable. But the combination of humility and strength, compassion and commandments, made it possible to believe He could experience hunger and thirst and still multiply loaves…for others.
Through careful reading of the Old Testament one begins to notice something interesting: an overwhelming amount of Scripture is history, not stories; historical accounts of a people (the Jewish people) in an intimate relationship with their God. The Jews are truly a unique people in the sense that they did not write their own story; rather, they first lived it first and wrote it later, after great reflection and prayer. In their history they did not attempt to portray a perfect race, a royal people, a deserving people. They did not try to hide failures among their leaders, failures among the people and failures in their unique relationship with God. Instead, they openly admitted to them and discussed them and worked hard to avoid them. The history of the Jewish people is the history of mankind with and without God.
The New Testament is not a story written by story tellers. It is history being recorded. In fact, the “Acts of the Apostles” is a daily, a live up-to-date account of what the Holy Spirit is doing through an ex-fisherman, or ex-Pharisee and tentmaker!
In today’s first reading, we read how Paul insists on being brought to Rome for trial. He wants an audience with the Emperor (cf. Acts 25:13-21). He wants to present his case of the King of the World before the Ruler of this world. Who does the Lord want you to present His case to? To your family and friends? To your school and/or sorority or fraternity? Your mission may be just as impossible as St. Paul’s! But we know with God, “nothing is impossible.”
Of course miracles help reveal who Jesus is. But if you examine Scripture carefully, you notice almost immediately that miraculous events are told in the same fashion as non-miraculous events: as a matter of fact. For even non-miraculous events are necessary in order to paint a more complete portrait of the Son of God. For example: We are told that Jesus once changed water into wine (for a bride and a groom). But we are also told He once abstained from any drink for forty days. Again, we are told He once walked on water. But we are also told He got into a boat multiple times to cross to the other side. We are told He multiplied bread. But we are also told His Apostles got so hungry that they picked the heads of grain from an unknown field. Only once did a virgin conceive and bear a son; the rest having been intimate with their husband. Only Christ rose from the dead. None of His Apostles did.
Again, these ex-fishermen and ex-Pharisees are not storytellers. They are re-telling the story of Jesus Christ and they are reliving their experiences with the Lord. The Apostles are not writing from the inside out. They are writing from the outside looking in. They are witnesses to what they have seen and heard. They are not creating a love story. They are getting a firsthand experience of living Love. They are living it, now and forever.
Simon Peter, do you love me? If there is one thing the Lord repeated over and over again, and is covered throughout the Scriptures, it is this absolute necessity to love and to allow God to love you. For this reason God asked Peter a very pointed question: “Simon Peter, do you love me?”
What do you think God is asking you? Based on all these firsthand accounts, I guarantee you it's the same exact thing.