He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (Jn 21:17)
The Gospel at today’s Mass contains one of my favorite post-resurrection accounts. In it, Jesus calls Peter aside and asks him not once, not twice, but three times, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter answers, “Yes.”
The third time, as we see above, Peter answered with much distress.
Commentators throughout the years have pointed out that this was a very important interrogation of Peter. What it did was to give Peter the opportunity to recant the three times that he denied Jesus.
For, if you remember, on the night that Jesus was arrested, Peter was approached on three separate occasions and asked if he knew Jesus. Not once, not twice, but three times, Peter said, “I do not know the man.”
That must have hurt Jesus much.
The opportunity for Peter to tell Jesus three times that he loved the Lord was a great chance at forgiveness. And that, my friends, is what the Lord is all about: forgiveness.
FAITH ACTION: Jesus gave people opportunity after opportunity to be forgiven. We often refuse to forgive and hold grudges throughout our lives. In prayer today, ask the Lord to help you to see if there is someone you refuse to forgive. Ask the Lord for the grace to forgive that person.