Love and Witness
(3rd Sunday of Easter: Acts 5:27-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19)
There are countries where it is a crime to try to win converts to Christianity. But in other parts of the world, maybe even close to home, we may hear echoes of the high priest’s words in the first reading: “We gave you strict orders to stop teaching in that name!”
Such was the case in large areas of France at the time of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. In fact, the situation deteriorated to the point that religious orders, including the Missionaries of La Salette, were obliged around the year 1900 to relocate to other countries in order to survive.
Like the Apostles, who “left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name,” we too can rejoice in that persecution, which led to the growth of the Congregation and the dissemination of the La Salette message and charism.
Peter and the others were witnesses, called to share what they had seen and heard, regardless of opposition. Ideally, the same should be said of all believers today. But where do we get the strength?
The answer is in today’s Gospel. Look at Peter’s reaction when the other disciple said, “It is the Lord!” His heart was so full of love for Jesus that he couldn’t even wait for the boat to get to shore.
Shortly after that, the Lord asked him three times, “Do you love me?” Each time he answered, “You know that I love you” and Jesus commanded him to feed his flock. Never again would Peter hesitate to acknowledge or proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Apply that scene to yourself. When you profess your love for Jesus, how does he reply? What does he expect of you? In one way or another it will involve some kind of witness, if only by full and faithful participation in the life of the Church. This is the minimum the Beautiful Lady asks of us.
The second reading describes a sort of liturgy, different in form from ours, but expressing the same desire: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.”
In our worship and in our life, let that be our aim.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.