First Reading: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him. After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar — though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 11:4-5, 7
The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids test, the children of men. The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates him that loves violence. For the LORD is righteous, he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Gospel: John 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
I love Saint Peter. I love his impulsive ways, his missteps and his tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He is a saint I can relate to and doesn’t seem so holy that he is unreachable. It is interesting when you consider that John was the one that “Jesus loved” and as you read Scripture you can sense Saint John’s deep spirituality and love for Our Lord. At first glance, it seemed like John would have been Jesus’ choice as the first Pope.
There must have been moments when Peter thought to himself, “Why me, Lord?” I am sure Peter was aware of his faults and he felt there were better suited men to fill this role. However, Jesus saw beyond the rough spots. He saw the qualities that Peter possessed that were needed for his calling—great faith, determination, a fiery spirit, love for Christ and humility. Jesus understood Peter and He brought the best out of him. With God’s grace Peter went from a lowly fisherman who denied knowing Christ to a great defender of the faith and leader of the Church.
I find great comfort in that! It shows me that Jesus knows exactly who we are. He sees all our strengths and our weaknesses. He doesn’t expect us to change our personalities and become someone we are not, rather, He smooths out the rough parts and brings out our natural gifts. God has a special purpose for each of us. We were born at this moment in history with our particular circumstances because we have a mission that only we can fulfill. Right here, right now God calls us to follow Him.
Sometimes we get this attitude that things will be a lot better once this happens or that happens. Or that we’d be better at our vocation if only we were more like so-and-so. We take it to prayer and say, “Lord, what about this??” Jesus looks at us and with tough love and says, “What is that to you? Follow me!”
We don’t need to worry about that future thing that will supposedly make us happier. We don’t need to worry that we don’t have the traits of super-Catholic mom down the street. God made us as we are and all we need to do is keep our focus on Him and follow where He leads us. He’ll take care of the rest.
Today, don’t compare yourself to someone else or wish that things were different in your life. Be thankful for who you are and the blessings that are before you.
Bobbi Rol is full time mom to a teen daughter, three rambunctious little boys, and two babies in heaven. She lives in California with her husband, Brian. You can find out more about her here.