Are you married or engaged? A parent or grandparent? Surely you are a daughter or son, maybe even a sister or brother? Every one of us learns, many times over, that love is on full display in our relationships with others. What’s so gorgeous—and challenging!—about love is its countless proofs, dimensions and subtleties; as a new mom, seeing my baby son smile at me brings me joy and peace unlike any other—the source of which, I believe, is Divine.
In today’s reading, the Divine Author of Love shows us what love is, and what love does. It starts ever so tenderly when Jesus addresses Peter as “Simon, son of John,” connecting him to his father. (Imagine Jesus calling you by name, as son or daughter of your father’s name—it’s gripping.) Then, each time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and Peter says yes, Jesus tells him how he must love: by caring for others. This conversation brings Matthew 22: 37-40 to mind: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
In his final response, Jesus didn’t spare Peter any details in how far he’d have to go in love. He would be led where he couldn’t imagine; suffering was imminent. And the only way for Peter to endure it is by following his Lord.
Where does Jesus ask you to show love? When does it feel easy for you, and when do you struggle? Can you see love in the midst of suffering? Ask Jesus in prayer today for the grace to follow him.
—Kristin Dillon is a lay minister who participates in Charis Ministries programs. She lives in Chicago with her husband and seven-month-old son.