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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 21, 15-19

When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'

A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.'

Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.

In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.'

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, 'Follow me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel we heard takes us to the days following the resurrection. Jesus is on the shore of the lake of Tiberias, the very place where he had met Peter for the first time and called him to follow him. And, as if to make a new beginning there on that same shore, Jesus asks Peter about the most important thing there is: love. Jesus knows that the only thing that will be able to keep Peter tied to him forever is not his sense of duty or strength of will, but his desire to repay with his own affection the limitless love he has received. This is why Jesus asks him if he loves him three times in a row, as if to emphasize the fact that this is the essential question, the one we need to ask ourselves every day. It is a question that sums up every word spoken by God: "Do you love me?" At first Peter’s answer is prideful and he is hurt because he thinks that the Lord does not trust him. But the Teacher’s insistence overcomes his resistance and strips bear his weakness, making him feel his deep need to entrust himself once again to Jesus, so that he might learn what it means to love with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength. The words Jesus pronounces on Peter open a glance of the apostle’s future. Peter will finally find his solidity. But it does not come from the strength of his spirit, as he once thought; it comes from his ability to trust in the Lord completely, and let the Lord guide him to places he had never imagined. This is the fulfilment of the prophecy of a fisherman who will be able to use the net of the Gospel to attract crowds of men and women to the Lord. But it is also the path for every disciple who wants to follow the Gospel, because it is only with Jesus that he/she has tasted true life. The disciples do not know where they will go, nor how they will get there, but the certainty about the faithfulness of the Teacher’s love will allow them to respond to the invitation that was made to them: "Follow me."

Memory of Jesus crucified