Jesus rebukes Peter’s distraction and commands him to “Follow Me.” Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruit of Self-control from the Holy Spirit so he can battle temptation by closely following Jesus and by seeking the Gift of Piety so he can pursue sainthood by striving each day to grow in holiness.
7th Week of Easter – Saturday – Jn 21:20-25
Appearing to the Apostles a final time by the Sea of Galilee before His Ascension, Jesus rebuked and challenged Peter to repent, to grow to have an “all in” love (agape) for Him, and to commit to be the leader of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church. Ominously, Jesus offered a veiled prophecy of Peter’s martyrdom; several decades later, when crucified by the Romans, Peter is granted his wish to be crucified upside down, so his death is not compared to the Crucifixion of his Lord Jesus.
After the discussion, Peter turns and sees John following behind Jesus and him. Peter, knowing that Jesus has a special affection for John (the “beloved disciple”), and that John was the only disciple who remained with Jesus at His Crucifixion, asks Jesus what will happen to John. It is unclear why Peter asks: to know if John would have eternal life; to know if John will be martyred too; to know how to use John in the spreading of the Gospel; or some other reason. John, as it turns out, will be the only remaining Apostle who will not die a death of “red” martyrdom (having blood shed by murder), but will suffer a severe “white” martyrdom (suffering persecution, but not execution).
Whatever the reason, Jesus sees Peter’s question as a distraction, and rebukes Peter, telling Peter it’s not his concern, and that he should simply, “Follow Me.” Jesus, perfectly knowing Peter’s volatility, wants Peter to focus on Him as Peter builds the Holy Catholic Church and not be distracted by other things. St. John, a witness to many, but not all of Jesus’ acts, and aware of oral Tradition and the other writings of the New Testament, humbly confirms his Gospel provides a secure basis for men to believe and be saved, even though it is unable to express the fullness of the mystery of Christ.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Reflect upon Jesus Christ as He forms Peter: Divine Knowledge, Jesus has supernatural insight about the future and the fate of every man; Divine King and greatest Leader, Jesus has perfect insight into personalities, thinking, and motivations of every man, and authoritatively gives Peter firm correction and direction; Divine Charity, Jesus performs Spiritual Works of Mercy, Admonishing and Instructing Peter.
Battle temptation by closely following Jesus
Realize: Jesus corrects Peter when he starts to get distracted by commanding him to “Follow Me.” Every Catholic man regularly gets distracted by worldly pursuits and temptations but can get back on track by remembering to stay close and “Follow Jesus.”
Believe: Reflect upon the Vow to Battle Temptation (CCC 1808, 2157, 2340, 2846-2849).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Self-Control so I can battle temptation by building a disciplined daily routine to follow and stay close to You in prayer, Scripture and the Sacraments and never allow myself to wander any place where I can not clearly see You.
Pursue sainthood by striving each day to grow in Holiness
Realize: The call of Jesus to “Follow Me” is a call to grow in Christian holiness on the path to Sainthood. To grow in holiness, every Catholic man needs to make the unbending commitment to become a Saint, sacrifice selfish desires, and engage in the Spiritual Combat.
Believe: Reflect upon Christian Holiness (CCC 2012-2016).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Piety so I make the sacred vow to be a saint, am filled with a constant desire to grow in holiness, and take the daily practical steps of sacrifice, battling sin, praying, receiving the Sacraments and offering many Works of Mercy.