Third Sunday of Easter - Year C
“Do you love me? ”
“Do you love?... Do you love me?...” From now on, to his life's end, Peter would have to go on his way accompanied by this threefold question: “Do you love me?” And he assessed all his actions according to the answer he then gave. When he was brought before the Sanhedrin; when he was put in prison in Jerusalem – that prison from which he was not meant to come out but from which he came out nonetheless; at Antioch and then, even further away, from Antioch to Rome. And when at Rome he had persevered to the end of his days, then he knew the force of those words indicating that Another would lead him where he did not wish to go. He knew, too, that thanks to the power of those words, the Church “was devoted to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” and that “every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2,42.47)...
Peter can never distance himself from this question: “Do you love me?” He carries it with him wherever he goes. He carries it across the centuries, through all generations; among new peoples and nations; among ever new languages and races. He carries it alone and yet he is no longer alone. Others carry it with him... There were then, and there are now, numbers of men and women who knew and who know also today that their whole lives have value and meaning only and exclusively to the extent that they are an answer to the same question: “Do you love? Do you love me?” They gave, and still give, their answer in a whole and perfect way – a heroic answer – or else in a commonplace and ordinary way. But in either case they know that their life, and that human life in general, has value and meaning to the extent that it is an answer to this question: “Do you love?” It is solely thanks to this question that life is worth living.
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Homily at Paris 30/05/80