Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the great engagement between the risen Jesus and Peter. Peter knows his sin—he betrayed Jesus three times. But Jesus brings him through the process of repentance and gives him the key to transformation. Three times Peter denied the Lord, and so three times Jesus asks him to reaffirm his faith: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Notice that Christianity is not a set of ideas or convictions or principles. It is a relationship with a person. Do you love Jesus? Has he become your friend?
When Simon says yes, Jesus tests him: “Feed my lambs; tend my sheep, feed my sheep.” The test of love is action. Are we willing to do what Jesus did? Are we willing to go on mission on his behalf?
Then we hear that wonderful closing section: “As a young man you fastened your belt and went about as you pleased; but when you are older you will stretch out your hands, and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.” The ultimate test of discipleship is our willingness to abandon our egos and be carried by a power greater than ourselves.
- Bishop Robert Barron