Only grounding everything in the logic of love can lead to the logic of being Christ’s follower.
Today’s readings are here.
Lovers sometimes fall into the paranoia of asking, “Do you love me?” But in today’s Gospel, Jesus is not suffering from lover’s paranoia. He’s acting according to the logic of someone who is helping a person whom he truly loves, Peter, to become aware of a truth that he will have to remember all his life: Love is the driving force of his mission.
“Simon of John, do you love me more than these?” He answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
It’s as if Jesus were saying to Peter, “Your only motivation for doing what you will have to do is pure love for me, only because you love me. Don’t look for any other gratification or motivation. Live remembering that it is only for My sake.”
This is a valuable lesson not only for a consecrated man or woman. It’s a valuable motivation for every baptized person: Christians live and face things finding their strength only in the love of Christ. And in the most difficult moments, they face everything out of love for Christ.
That’s why only after Jesus has burned this conviction into Peter’s heart (he asks him three times!) can he also announce to him in what manner he is to die:
‘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.
Only after he has grounded everything in the logic of love can he also serenely accept the logic of being Christ’s follower, “And when he had said this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’”
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese of Italy and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Aleteia is proud to offer this commentary on the readings for daily Mass, in collaboration with Fr. Epicoco.