“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15)
Just stop and think about it. Ponder this question that transcends time and goes to the very heart of our relationship with God. Place yourself in Peter’s shoes and imagine the Lord asking you this question. How would you react? What would you say?
I’ve been pondering this question all week and wondering how a husband would respond to his wife or a parent would respond to a child if they were asked this question. If my father asked me that question..my mother…my sister…my brother…my beloved friends…I would look at them almost incredulously wondering why they would even bother asking. Of course, I love them. If any of my parishioners asked me: of course, I love you. But it is such a profound question. Two days ago, I celebrated the funeral of a gentleman who had been married to his wife for 65 years. His wife sat in the front row looking on with love, and I wondered that if I dared ask her the question, “Did you love your husband?” she would’ve walked out of the church insulted.
It’s that Peter seems almost insulted that the Lord would asks him such a question because his love for Jesus was only strengthened by the peace he received after the resurrection. So here we are, Jesus is asking us the very same question. If I were to go around the church asking each and every one of you if you loved Jesus, you would all respond with a resounding yes. But take a step back and think about the implications of your response. If we truly loved the Lord, as Peter loved him, as we are all called to love him, than this love would require a radical transformation of our lives. Love truly does transform us. Ask a newlywed couple. Ask the widow who just lost her husband of 65 years. Ask a couple who have just had their first child. I’ll never forget the husband of one of my cousins holding his firstborn son the day he was born and realizing that things would never be the same because of this love that he had just discovered for this tiny child that he held in his arms. That is the transformative love of Jesus Christ. That is why our answer cannot be just lip service. Yes, Lord, we love you, so I have to leave behind our sinful ways. Yes, Lord, we love you, so I have to go out of my way to demonstrate the depths of this love. Yes, Lord, we love you, so I will follow you wherever you go.
Spend time this week going deeper into this question. Place yourself next to the Lord. Hear him ask you this life-altering question: “Do you love me?” How will you respond?