Called to love and care for others in resurrection hope

By: By Barbara Roedel

Third Sunday of Easter, April 11

Acts 5:27-32,40b-41; Psalm 30:2,4,5-6,11-12,13; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

I love breakfast. It’s probably my favorite meal of the day. The Gospel rarely speaks of breakfast, but today it does.

Imagine the scene. The disciples have been fishing all night. They come in tired and empty-handed. They see Jesus on the shore and he directs them to a huge catch of fish and has breakfast ready for them as well!

What a breakfast that must have been and what a way to signal a new day. Jesus has their attention.

After breakfast, with the charcoal fire still in the background, reminiscent of an earlier fire where Peter three times denied having anything to do with Jesus, Jesus turns to Peter. “Do you love me?” Jesus asks three times. Each time Peter responds that he does indeed love Jesus.

What was Jesus’ point in questioning Peter? Forgiveness for the three denials? Perhaps. Restoration of a relationship? Possibly.

But Jesus has much more in mind. Jesus is calling Peter to the future, to extend Jesus’ mission of love. Only after Peter has professed his love of Jesus does Jesus commission Peter to “feed my lambs . . . tend my sheep . . . feed my sheep.” Jesus’ threefold response to Peter’s love commissions Peter in a new ministry. In that moment, Peter’s vocation changed from fisherman to shepherd.

Jesus is the shepherd, but he calls Peter to share in his shepherding by caring, nurturing, feeding, and providing security and guidance to Jesus’ flock. Jesus points Peter to the future of the Church — the mission to love and care for others. Jesus grounds this mission in love of God.

We, too, confess our love of the risen Christ. Because of that, we do not live meaningless or futile lives. Rather we live with hope, with joy, and with expectation.

God is part of our relationships, our ministry, and our ordinary lives. We respond to the presence of the risen Christ in love, and as such we respond with hope in the future of God’s reign on earth. Our gracious Lord beckons us to “follow me” to resurrection hope and mission. This invitation is not about endings, but new beginnings.

It is a new day. Alleluia!


Barbara Roedel is the pastoral associate at St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island. Contact her at

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