One of my favorite gospel passages is the post-resurrection encounter between Jesus and Peter when Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” I love this passage because there have been many times in my life when I know Jesus has asked me the same question and it has forced me to enter deeply into my heart to find the answer.
Some days I’ve been able to answer with a resounding “Yes!” Other days, my answer has been more lukewarm: “Lord, I do love You…but not enough.”
Jesus asked Peter this question three times so that Peter would be given the chance to reverse his triple denial of Jesus. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times so now he would three times express his love for the Lord. Jesus takes the initiative to bring Peter to repentance for his sins. How beautiful! Even when we offend Jesus He draws near to us; He takes the initiative in leading us back to Him through repentance.
“Do you love me?” It’s a question that any serious follower of Jesus Christ must reflect upon because love for Jesus is at the heart of our spiritual lives. So today I invite you to look into your heart and respond to Him. Do you love Him?
None of us loves Jesus perfectly; but if we try to love Him then it will necessarily play out in our daily lives. So, how do we love Jesus—practically? How does it translate into our daily living?
• We love Him with our hearts. This means that He is our first love. He comes before everything and everyone. Our hearts belong completely to Him. Spouses, fear not! For the more we love Jesus, the more we are able to love others. He is the source of love and the more we go to the source, the more we are filled. Loving Jesus with our hearts means that we let nothing else occupy the central place in our hearts; that place is for Him alone. Loving Jesus with our hearts means that we are willing to do whatever He asks of us, no matter what the cost, no matter what our own desire is. Loving Jesus means being committed to daily, heart-to-heart prayer with Him.
• We love Him with our minds. This means that Jesus occupies our thoughts. He influences everything we do in our lives. It means we think of Him frequently throughout the day; we speak to Him throughout the day; we know that He is with us at every moment. It means we do our best, with God’s grace, to banish thoughts that go against the love of Jesus. We dismiss angry thoughts, impure thoughts, jealous thoughts, judgmental thoughts, any thoughts that come against our love for God and neighbor. Loving Jesus with our minds means that we allow our minds to be shaped by the truths that are taught to us through the Church, truths that lead us to live the Christian life more fully.
• We love Him with our bodies. This means that whatever our vocation we keep our bodies pure. We live chastely. Married couples stay faithful to one another and allow their love to deepen so that they can enter more deeply into the great mystery of the sacrament of marriage. Those who are not married live chastely. This enables them to be selfless in serving God, their family, the Church, and society. Loving Jesus with our bodies means that we allow the Holy Spirit to shape our passions. We cooperate with God’s grace to overcome bad habits: impatience, anger, unforgiveness, whatever struggles we may have.
“Do you love me?” It’s a deep question. It’s a demanding question. It’s a question addressed to each of us. Are we ready to respond like Peter? “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.”
How else does loving Jesus play out in our daily lives? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you liked this post please share it on Twitter or these other sites: