Third Sunday of Easter
“Do you love me?” The last chapter of the Gospel of John revolves around a question from Jesus. Jesus directs it to Peter, in the first place. He would be his first “Vicar” on Earth: the one who would exercise in his name the office of Supreme Pastor to instruct, sanctify and govern his flock. He had to prove the suitability of the candidate. And what better way to do that than by asking him, “Do you love me?”
This question of Jesus is still valid. And not only for Peter and his successors but for each one of us, shepherds, and sheep: “Do you love me?” It is the question that Jesus asks us all. And he does it to us so that we can do it to ourselves. He asks the question three times, varying the expression somewhat in each case. It is thus evident that your question is much more than a curiosity. It is a deep longing, an aspiration; even more, a triple desire: to improve the quality, enlarge the quantity and motivate the constancy of our love.
Jesus is a Medical Doctor: “Do you love me?”. Jesus is a physician. He listens and knows our hearts. He wants our love to be more and more healthy, pure, straight, and honest. And there is no way to love anyone like this if our first love is not Himself. Whoever wants to truly love whoever he is, must love him “in Christ and through Christ”. Human love often lacks purity, honesty, and rectitude. It almost always springs from our hearts mixed with other intentions. Jesus wants to purify our love. Therefore, regardless of our state of life, of whom or whom we should love, Jesus, asks us: ” Do you love me?” Loving in Christ and for Christ is the condition to truly love a wife, a son, a brother, a sister, and a friend.
Jesus is a Beggar: Jesus asks again: “Do you love me?” This time Jesus is a beggar. Only lovers wonder if others love them. And a lover is needy of love. Jesus sometimes has to dig in our hearts, like beggars in garbage cans, to see if he finds something for him. He had cried out on the cross, almost desperately: “I thirst.” Thirst for our soul, hunger for our love. Jesus represents here all those who need something from us: attention, affection, understanding, forgiveness, and generosity. He is behind each needy who knocks on our door and asks us: “Do you love me?”.
Jesus is a motivator: Jesus asks for the third time: ” Do you love me?” This time, Jesus is a cheerleader of our hearts. We all get tired of loving. We have all experienced heart fatigue. Jesus asks us a third time if we love him to test the endurance and constancy of our love. Jesus knows that only by loving Him can we persevere in loving others, even heroism The love of Christ has been, is, and will be the underlying motivation of so many loves that far exceed the stage of “nerves”.
Mary, Mother of beautiful love: Mary knows that Jesus comes asking us at every step of life: “Do you love me?”. And she also knows that our response defines, in a certain way, the quality, quantity, and constancy of our love. Let us put our hearts in the hands of mary so that she may help us to respond to Jesus, like Peter, with full sincerity: “Lord, you know everything; You know that I love you”.
Happy Easter, Fr. Fidel