I remember the homily of Pope Francis when he celebrated mass at Manila Cathedral. The first line of his homily was, “Do you love me?” and the audience responded with a cheerful and resounding “yes.” Today, I am visiting the spot where Jesus asked Peter three times “Do you love me?” And Peter responded “Yes Lord, you know how much I love you” three times as well. Then Jesus said, “go and feed my sheep.” Of course we know that Peter denied Jesus three times.
What the Bible Say
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples
21 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards[a] off.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus and Peter
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus and the Beloved Apostle
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers[b] 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?”
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
The Church of the Primacy of Peter
And where did this conversation happen? Here at the Church of the Primacy of Peter. The Church of the Primacy of Peter commemorates the installation of Peter as the head of the Church. It is located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Owned by the Franciscan Order, the current church was built in 1933 but traces its roots as early as 381AD. It is located in Tabgha, near the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish and Capernaum – the town of Jesus.
Enshrined inside the Church of the Primacy of Peter is the Mensa Christi or “Table of Christ.” It is believed that it is the same spot where Jesus laid a breakfast of bread and fish for the apostles when He appeared for the third time after resurrection. However, the authenticity of the Mensa Christi here has not been affirmed as there is another Mensa Christi at the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fish.
Sea of Galilee
Jesus had His ministry and performed some of His miracles at the Sea of Galilee like catching a large number of fish, calming the storm, walking on water and the multiplication of bread and fish. I am taking the opportunity of a lifetime walking on the same shore Jesus walked and touching the same water He has touched.
MY PERSONAL REFLECTION AT THE PRIMACY OF PETER
We are all apostles of Jesus called to serve Him though our service to our fellowmen. Our love to Jesus can be manifested by the love we give to others. As He has said, “whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done it to me.” It is therefore fitting for us to show our love and concern to others like helping the poor uplift their living. But let us not be hypocrite about helping. Let us help in such a way that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing. For the reward we shall reap is not on earth but in heaven. Let us help without asking for anything in return. Let us help because we care.
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