13 May, Friday – Do You Love Me?

13 May

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Acts 25:13-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

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John 21:15-19

After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, 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.’

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…do you love me more than these others do?

Today’s Gospel is a familiar one, where we read of Jesus asking Simon Peter three times, if he loved Him. One can possibly interpret this passage in a couple of ways, but today I feel this is the message I am called to share.  Every time Peter replies to Jesus, it isn’t just the reply but that there is an action/mission that needs to be taken. And that to me is an important part of loving the other. Loving is a choice.  A choice to do something for the other and not for oneself.

Even in the life of Peter, “In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God.” If we truly love Christ, we will be living for Christ.  To give Him glory. But the irony is that Christ lives for all. And so in living for Christ, we are also called to live for the people around us and that is usually our struggle.

When Christ says “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Mt 25:41-45)

Our faith isn’t just based on prayers alone. Whether or not we love God, it isn’t just by words but really by action.  By our examples of how we live our lives by keeping His commandments and teachings. What we need to realise is the commandments and His teachings are not for us to please Him when we obey them, but it is more to help us love one another. To help us forgive the other. To help us be more aware.  To help us be Christ to others.

With this, let us answer the question above with the way we lead our lives. To lead others to love Christ and not just love us.  For our love is imperfect, but His is made perfect through Jesus. I love you Lord. Amen.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to learn by your example for when you said you love us, you died for us when You obeyed the will of your Father. Help us to die to ourselves, our pride, in order that we may not just love ourselves but love ourselves in order to love others. Love others not for them just to love us, but to love all, because they see you in us. Continue to protect us and guide us when society attacks us from every angle. But also give us the courage to allow you to shine in our lives and by our example. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus for the gift of your love and life to us even though we are unworthy and undeserving. Thank you for all the love you have shown me through those you place in my life.

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