the third degree
"Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" —John 21:16
Three times Jesus addressed Peter not as "Peter," the name Jesus had given him, but as "Simon, son of John," Peter's name before he met Christ (Jn 21:15, 16, 17). This is something like Jesus addressing each of us by our surnames and refusing to use our baptismal names. Jesus may have been saying to Simon Peter: "If you want to live as if you've never met Me, then I'll refer to you by your name before you met Me."
Jesus asked Peter three times: "Do you love Me?" Jesus seemed unconvinced about Simon Peter's love. Two weeks ago, every Catholic in the world who went to Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Masses renewed baptismal promises by rejecting Satan and professing faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What if Jesus asked you today to renew again your baptismal promises? What if He asked you to renew them again tomorrow? Jesus would seem unconvinced about our commitment to Him.
Jesus described Simon Peter as a disciple who "went about" as He "pleased" (Jn 21:18). However, Simon Peter needed to be a disciple who would allow himself to be carried off against his will to die for Jesus (Jn 21:18-19).
Do you deserve to be addressed by your baptismal name? Is your love for Jesus convincing? Are you Jesus' disciple on your terms or on His?
Prayer: Jesus, I choose to follow You to the cross.
Promise: "We testify to this. So too does the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those that obey Him." —Acts 5:32
Praise: "Then I heard the voices of every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea; everything in the universe cried aloud: 'To the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever!' " (Rv 5:13)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2000