THE ROAD HOME
Recently I found myself telling someone this, rather old, story. It's about a Mom who is dutifully attempting to pry her adult son out of bed early on a Sunday morning. She is being relentless. His resistance proves not to match her fervor. She is telling him he has to get up and get to Mass. He responds one last time: "Oh, Mom, why must I get up? Just let me sleep". Her final argument: "You have to get up! You're the priest!"
Do you need someone to convince you to come to Mass on a Sunday morning? What ultimate convincing argument provides the effective motivation? It's humility, isn't it? It is, after all, God we are coming to worship, to serve. In just two brief sentences I have used three words, humility, worship, serve, that are not usually all that attractive in today's world. Well, could love - our love for God, or better, God's love for us - strike the chord that appeals?
We believe in a living God. This is the starting block. Jesus asks us, further, to believe in Him. In His public life, in the stories of the Gospel, Jesus gives us ample reason for believing in Him. He is consistently inviting us to a relationship with Him. He is presenting us with a unique way of life. It will result in an eternity of untold happiness and glory. However, He tells us also that this friendship with Him won't be easy. To the faint of heart this may be a deterrent. Yes, God, and Jesus, insists on challenging us. Yet, as we read the Acts of the Apostle and the Gospels, we discover that the Apostles, and others who followed closely, discovered something.
Whatever this "something" is, when they owned it, you couldn't shut them up, not with threats, not with beatings. Death, martyrdom, was effective. No, not really. Those who heard them and also believed firmly in Jesus continued to carry the message. Some of those very people brought it to you. Now, what are you, are we, going to do with this "Good News"?
In today's Gospel we hear Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him. Jesus asks three times. That moment had to be more than a little bit uncomfortable for Peter. But he was growing in that moment. You and I have to be more than just passive witnesses to the Gospel.
It is a guarantee that Jesus asks each of us this same question: "Do you love me?" Each day He asks us this question many times. It is our moment to grow - to believe, to love. "Lord, you know that I love you!" But, please, Lord Jesus, ask me again tomorrow.