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Jesus engages Peter after breakfast on a charcoal fire (21:9), recalling Peter’s three fold denial of Christ and Peter’s discipleship by a charcoal fire (18:18) on the night Jesus was arrested. Calling him Simon, instead of Peter, is a great rebuke for his unbelief. Jesus then asked Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?”, another stinging rebuke recalling Peter’s boast that he would lay his life down for Jesus and Jesus’ prophecy that Peter would deny Him three times (13:37-38).

To restore the relationship, Jesus asks Peter to repent and profess his love for Jesus three times.  Two times, Jesus uses the Greek word, agapao, meaning “dearly love”, while Peter responds with the Greek, phileo, meaning “friendly love.” The third time, Jesus uses phileo, or “friendly love” and Peter responds with the same.  Christ challenges Peter to an “all-in” kind of love, especially in light of his previous denial, but settles for Peter’s “friendly love.”

With each response from Peter, Jesus instructs Peter to feed or tend Christ’s sheep or lambs. In this, the Good Shepherd installs Peter as the earthly shepherd of the Catholic Church.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Jesus as the Divine Prophet, recalls the prophecy that came true about Peter’s denial.  As Leader and King, Christ rebukes Peter, masterfully reminding Peter of his three fold denial and with Mercy, allows Him to repent and profess His love. As King and Good Shepherd, Jesus authorizes Peter to be the leader of the Church. By telling Peter he will “stretch” out his hands and go where he doesn’t want to go, Jesus is prophesizing Peter’s own crucifixion.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ is aware of each and every one of our failings and, like Peter, will call us to account.  What types of denials of Christ have you made recently through your thoughts and deeds? Be specific.

2) Christ hungers for men to have an “all-in” (agapao) kind of love for Him.  Are you “all-in” for Christ?  Pray for Christ to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen your love.  Commit to be “all-in” for Christ.

3) Jesus wants His Church to flourish and seeks strong, reliable and men motivated even unto death to serve the Church.  Pray for Christ to reveal how He wishes to use you to build the Church.  And then, take action.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith