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Home » Daily Gospel

An Insight Into Christian Leadership

Submitted by on Friday, 29 May 2009No Comment


NAB HomepageToday’s Readings

The day’s gospel selection from John is the account of the Commissioning of Peter (John 21:20-25). Jesus as the Good Shepherd had already given his life for his sheep (cf. John 10). As Priest, he already consecrated himself so that his own may be consecrated in truth (cf. John 17). Now, he commissions Peter to feed his sheep.

The episode has its Matthaean equivalent in Matthew 16. In this latter account, Jesus changes the name of Simon bar-Jonah to Kepha which means “Rock”. The Greek “Petros” is the Greek equivalent “petra” with a masculine form. In Matthew 16, Kepha is to be the Rock upon Jesus will build his Church. The faith of Peter is highlighted here; it was to him that the identity of Christ was revealed and it is upon that knowledge that the faith of the Church will be founded. In Luke, the Commissioning of Peter is given during the Last Supper. The change of Simon’s name to Peter is given during the miraculous catch in Luke 5, thereby setting up Peter at the helm of the missionary activity of the Church. But the Commissioning takes on the features of a commissioning within a theology of the cross. The leadership of Peter is an empowerment given by the Risen Lord

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:31-32 (ESV)

In John’s gospel, this Lucan aspect of the Petrine leadership is highlighted. Unlike that of Matthew, in John, the key is Peter’s love. “Do you love me more than these?” The question can mean two things: either Peter’s love for the Lord is greater than the love of the others or whether Peter’s love for the Lord is greater than his love for the others. Whether one or the other, the key is whether Peter loves the Lord.

The aspect of Christian leadership underlined here emphasizes the leader’s love for the Lord. The idea behind is simple: if one loves the Lord, then one will also love those whom the Lord loves, his sheep and lambs.

Immediately following the Commissioning is the prediction of the way Peter will glorify God. In John’s gospel, “to glorify God” is to die as Jesus did. The command following this prediction is “follow me”, a command which can only be understood in the light of John 12

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.
John 12:26 (ESV)

Considering the context of these words, the “follow me” addressed to Peter can only mean one thing: Christian leadership must also be a participation in the hour of Jesus. Like the Lord, Peter must now also become like the Good Shepherd ready to give his life for the flock.

John 21:20-25
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20Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray thee?
21Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do?
22Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou me.
23This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but, So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee?
24This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.
Luke 22:31-32
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31And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.
John 12:26
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26If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour.

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