Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter – Jn 21:20-25
With today’s Gospel, we essentially come to the end of our Easter journey; soon ordinary time will come upon us again.
In a sense, the story of John’s Gospel ends the exact same way as it began. Jesus leaves Peter in the same place He found him: on the side of the lake, having come in from a large catch. Exteriorly, everything might appear the same: he still looks like the same old Peter, fishes like the old Peter, and talks like him; he’s even on the same beach, with the same boat, doing the same thing.
Yet, interiorly, Peter is entirely different. From the first chapter of John’s Gospel to the twenty-first, Peter has changed. He’s more aware of his weaknesses, knows better who Jesus is, and certainly more aware of Christ’s mercy. His journey through the Gospel takes him back to the same physical location where he started, but with a new energy, a new focus, and, most importantly, a new love to be expressed in his works.
The Petrine experience, we could call it, is also ours after having passed through this Easter journey. There’s studies to be returned to, families to be looked after, work to be done. Though we might return to these places looking the same and doing the same things, interiorly we have been changed. To sum up our experience, we could use the words of the first epistle of Saint John: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (4:16). Yet this love must be translated into works.
After Peter’s triple confession of his love, John ends his Gospel with the following, curious phrase: “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” It’s funny, when we think about it, since Jesus’ public life was three short years. He certainly did many things, but, enough to fill the whole world with books?
Perhaps what John is referring to is how Christ continues to work through us. As Christ’s friends, our lives are meant to spread that love which we have received. This is the greatest way of showing our love for Christ, since “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). Our lives must become a constant dying to self in order to live for and to love Jesus Christ, the only one who is worthy of our love.
Let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Our Risen Lord, for the grace to live out our Easter joy at all moments in the year and to truly serve Christ out of love of Him.