Third Sunday of Easter
Let’s listen the Church with docility
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (Jesus) said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” Jn 21,15-19
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”, Jesus asks for three times to Peter. It is the final examination which Peter has to pass before that the Church is entrusted to him. The reason of this proof is embodied into the final prophecy of Jesus: “Indeed, in full truth I tell you: when you were younger, you were able to dress-up by yourself and you were able to go where you wanted; but when you will be old, you will stretch out your hands and some other person will dress you and will bring you where you want”. The Lord entrusts the Church to Peter because only who really loves him can love also the Church up to the point to be crucified for it. To participate to the suffering of the Church, and for the Church, it means to participate to the suffering of Christ to save the world. The profession of faith given by Paul VI when elected as Pope comes to the mind: “ Perhaps the Lord called me to this service not because I have some attitude or because I govern and save the Church from the present difficulties, but to make me somewhat suffering and it is clear that he, not others, guides and saves the Church”. These words have been truly prophesies, because few popes, in the history of the Church, lived and suffered as Paul VI, who, when died, was called “the Pope of the storms”. These are not easy times, but the Church, although being not perfect, is master of truth and the believer has to listen to it with docility: “We are from God: the one who knows God can listen to us; the one who is not with God does not listen to us. From this we can recognize the spirit of the truth and the spirit of the mistake” (1Gv 4,6).The people who, to be faithful to Jesus Christ have abandoned the Church, quite always have abandoned also him. The Church has the task to be always listening, not only to the Word of God, but also of his sons, in particular of the ones to whom the Spirit has conferred the charisma of the wisdom and of the prophecy. The real prophets, however, are the saints. Only them renew continuously the Church. The Church, as the saints are, is in the world, but it is not of the world. It participates to its conquests and to its tragedies, it supports the cause of the justice and of the peace and it is not extraneous to anything which involves the man. Paul VI some day announced: “It the world feels to be extraneous to the Christianity, the Christianity does not feel to be extraneous to the world. The world has to know to be loved and esteemed with superior and unfailing affection”. The essential task of the Church is, however, the clear announcement, done from the roofs, that in Jesus Christ God loved and saved the men, who can find full salvation only by believing and being united to him and his Church by the baptism.