Third Sunday of Easter
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” The tension between taking care of our own needs and following Christ with an undivided heart is the same struggle that Peter and the Apostles faced. We struggle to love Jesus as he loves us, as he deserves, to love him because we desire to love him and not because we are obliged to do so. Thanks be to God for his great love and untiring patience. Even when we are unable to love God perfectly, God still loves us perfectly. God meets us where we are and gently moves us to a better place, a better space, a deeper love. The Lord helps us to move beyond ourselves and draws us closer to him. In his letter “God is Love” Benedict XVI uses the conversation between Peter and Jesus to explain the difference between divine and human love. Jesus speaks about a love that is unconditional, a total self-offering of self.  Peter speaks about a love that is affectionate and fraternal. Jesus says, “Do you love me more than these?” In this question, Jesus is asking do you love me more than anything or anyone else in your life. Peter responds in a manner that seems to say: “Lord you know that I worry and care about you.” Jesus simply meets Peter where he is, loves him, and encourages him to encourage others with his words. Jesus asks Peter a second time, “Do you love me?” Peter responds in the same way as before but Jesus encourages Peter to take care of God’s people and to be more attentive to their needs. In other words, love the people. Jesus asks a third time, “Do you love me?” Peter just says, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.” Yes, God knows everything about us. We belong to him. We are his. He knows how much and how little we love him but isn’t it good to hear? Isn’t it good to say? It would be great to say, I love you Lord because I truly mean it.  Father, I love you – Brother, I love you – Holy Friend, I love you. The challenge for us is to learn how to move from human to divine love. To seek God’s gift and share what we have received. We must allow Jesus to nourish us with the gift of divine love so that we can truly say, “Lord, you know that I love you with all my heart, mind, body and soul.”

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