Friday, 22 May 2015

Following a friend

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.120)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 21:15-19
Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he 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 upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'

‘I tell you most solemnly, 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.’


The main failing of Peter comes during Jesus' trial when he denies Jesus three times. The first time in response to a question from a maid on whether he was a disciple, the second time when he was asked if he was a disciple, and the third time in response to a question on whether he was in the garden with Jesus.

In this post-resurrection encounter, the word for love that Jesus uses in the first two questions to Peter is agape (sacrificial willing love) but Peter responds with phileo (friendly affection). In light of Peter’s repeated failure to grasp or express the self-sacrificial nature of agape it is hardly surprising that Peter does not respond to the direct words that Jesus uses in the first two questions that Jesus puts to him. In the third question Jesus comes down to Peter’s level and uses the word phileo (will you be my friend).

The three questions, and the opportunity for Peter to reply, are an indication that Peter can be rehabilitated, and experience pardon. Peter has given up all self-confidence and has entrusted himself humbly to his Lord.

All of us experience failure in the Christian journey. Like Peter, we are offered forgiveness and rehabilitation.

Will you accept the mercy and acceptance of Jesus and follow him?


Malcolm Davies

5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.

















Next Reflection: Susanne Timpani Sunday 24th May, 2015