Today’s Gospel: John 21, 15-19
Peter, do you love me? Lord, you know that I do. Feed my sheep.
I have always loved this analogy of the Shepherd and his sheep. These images would have resonated profoundly with the people Jesus addressed, but what about us? How do we relate to Jesus’ request to Peter to take care of the lambs and feed the sheep?
Allison, do you love me? Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you. Tend my sheep.
First, I needed to do a little research on the nature of sheep. Contrary to popular opinion, sheep are not stupid; they react according to their instincts. Sheep keep, what is known as, a ‘flight distance’ (how close it is willing to get) from other sheep or humans. While this distance varies, it is greatly reduced for the one who feeds them. The sheep-tending site gave this advice, “by working with your sheep DAILY [emphasis mine], you will decrease the flight distance of the sheep as it relates to you.”
This information transformed this appeal from Jesus to a whole new level for me, both as my role as sheep in the faith and as a shepherd to my children. For me, I am drawn to where I am fed spiritually – so I must be careful as to where I allow myself to graze. It is important to seek green pastures (such as good spiritual reading), which draw me ever closer to Christ and my Catholic faith, and to do so daily. I would never even consider not feeding my children each day; how lax I can be in providing them daily spiritual nourishment. I must feed them so they too can one day respond to Jesus’ question, “Do you love me?” with a resounding, “Yes Lord, you know that I do.”
How do I draw near to Christ? What do I allow to shepherd me? Do I remember to feed my children spiritually on a daily basis?
Lord, it is not merely enough to say I love you. My love for you should spur me to some action that draws others closer to you as well. Like sheep, I desire to respond to my instincts, especially those promptings that remind me how much I need you in my daily life!
Copyright 2016 Allison Gingras
Allison Gingras is founder of Reconciled To You and host of A Seeking Heart on Breadbox Media, weekdays 10 a.m. ET. Allison writes, speaks and shares about living an every life of faith. She created the “Words with” daily devotional app series Words with Jesus and offers presentations on Forgiveness; Trust; and the Blessed Mother.