Psalms 11:4, 5, 7
We are at the end of the Easter season. Tomorrow is Pentecost. The readings today conclude the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John. There is a fitting focus on two prominent figures in the New Testament, Peter and Paul.
The theme of the readings is discipleship. Jesusí directive to follow him is clear and straightforward. The manner in which oneís discipleship is lived out is unique to each person and may vary within the lifetime of an individual. The lives of Peter and Paul bear this out.
In the Gospel reading, Peter had just delivered a three-fold proclamation of his love and devotion in response to Jesusí three-fold inquiry and missioning. Perhaps flustered by this dramatic exchange, Peter wonders about the disciple, John, who is usually quietly in the background but with seemingly close connection to the person of Jesus. Jesus thereupon directs Peter to mind his own business and to get on with his own life, his own discipleship. A lively exchange indeed.
In the first reading, we see a dramatic shift in the manner of Paulís discipleship. Here was a person who had traveled extensively, having undertaken three great missionary journeys, now settled into the confining existence of house arrest. Circumstances may change, but the call to discipleship is constant and adaptable.
The application to oneís own discipleship is pretty obvious.
The call by Jesus can be gradual, as in the case of Peter, or dramatic,
as in the case of Paul. Peter and John and Paul were persons with
different personalities, different strengths, different weaknesses.
Jesus sends out as disciples unique individuals, namely, us. It is
necessary to rejoice in and to utilize our uniqueness in order to be authentic
persons, in order to be authentic disciples.
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