What happens in the personal encounter with Jesus on the shore? We see that Jesus first speaks. He asks questions, questions that make the Apostles uncomfortable: “Have you caught anything?” and “Peter, do you love me?” Peter and the Apostles were fishing. Fishing was what they knew best; it was a skill and a trade they were good at. And yet it is here in this place of security and control where they meet failure and frustration. They had caught nothing; their nets were empty. Peter had denied Jesus.
Jesus’ questions reveal the Apostles’ weakness and failure, but at the same time lead them to a deeper and more intimate relationship of trust with the Lord. Through the uncomfortable questions, Peter and his brother Apostles come to encounter the Risen Christ and enter into deeper communion with Him. How can they enter into His love and intimate friendship if they do not allow Him to cut away from their hearts all that which gets in the way?
Brothers, there is nothing more important than our personal relationship with Jesus, who every day asks you and me the question he asked St. Peter, “Do you love me?” He wants us to remain in Him as His most intimate friends. What is our response to Him? To enter into this time of renewal, I would encourage all of you to enter into the uncomfortable questions, allowing Jesus’ words to have their intended effect.
Pope Francis, also makes us feel uncomfortable. One thing I have noticed, even in my personal meetings with him, is that Pope Francis’ sole criterion is Jesus Christ. The Holy Father does not get distracted by peripheral considerations. He goes to the heart of things with simplicity and boldness. You recall that just two days after his election he said to the Cardinal Electors gathered in Rome: “If we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord …. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness” (Homily from Missa pro Ecclesia with the Cardinal Electors, March 14,2013).
This is beautiful. Are you allowing Jesus to ask you the hard questions? To expose to you where you deny Him?