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).
Jesus asked Peter three times: "Do you love Me?" Was Jesus questioning Simon about his love? Two weeks ago, every Catholic in the world who went to Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass 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? Would Jesus 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 lose his life and even 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: Praise You, Jesus, risen in splendor and glory. We adore You with all our hearts. Glory to You forever.
Reference: (Come away for time with the Lord and receive a new joy, hope and peace. Our retreat Who am I in Christ, May 24-26, looks more deeply into the radical newness of your Christian identity. Call 513-373-2397 or 937-587-5464 to register.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 28, 2018
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