Signpost for Sunday 10th April 2016, Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 9:1-6(7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19.
Today’s readings are lengthy, full of action, full of meaning. But four small words jump out and won’t go away: “Do you love me?” I find myself singing them (not out loud, I promise) to the haunting melody in Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye asks that question of Golde, his wife whom he met for the first time on their wedding day. Golde’s response is along the lines of, “Well considering all I’ve done for you for the past 25 years I guess I must do” – though much more musically expressed.
Is that my response as Jesus asks me that question? Quite apart from its outrageous presumption, it’s not good enough. Even switching it around to the more pertinent “Considering all you’ve done for me…” it’s not good enough. The Martha in me is ever more dominant than the Mary.
Peter protests three times, “You know that I love you.” Given his recent behaviour it is hard to credit that he has the effrontery to utter those words, yet his yearning and passion are patently obvious in the text. He is not saying “I suppose so”, he is vehemently expressing his emotions. Jesus’ tranquil response is, “Feed my sheep, feed my lambs – get on with the job at hand – and there’s more to come.”
Thank heavens he also said, “I am with you always.”