love in action
Third Sunday of Easter – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: May 5, 2109
What is the key question for each Catholic to answer? It is not “what do you know” nor is it memorizing the Catechism. The key question for each one of us is, Do you love me? Our Catholic Faith is rooted in a relationship with the living God. Do you love Jesus?
So, how do we show love? Not always by words, most importantly it is our actions that reveal love. By caring for the one we love. Think of a parent hugging a struggling child. A grandparent watching for a grandchild. A friend quietly sitting and listening to a friend without judging. Much love is shown by actions, by caring for the one we love.
It is for this reason, that after Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me”, he follows that by the call to action, “Feed my sheep.” This is how we show our love for Jesus. Peter was asked, “Do you love me.” Then he was told, “Feed my sheep.”
In the Church, the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter, so the Pope has this call to love Jesus and to feed his sheep by his pastoral care of the Church. Bishops as successors of the Apostles are also called to love Jesus and feed his sheep by caring for the people in his Diocese. Priests and Deacons are called to love Jesus and feed his sheep in the parish or community where they serve.
Every baptized Catholic, each one of you, is called to love Jesus and to show that love by feeding his sheep. Some of you do it by caring for your children, or your grandchildren, or your students, or your friends, or the poor, those in need, lonely in our community.
The key question for each one of us as Catholics is “Do you love me?” We are to come to know and love Jesus. How do we come to know and love Jesus? We need to spend time reading the Gospels. When we are reading the Gospels, we are spending time with Jesus and coming to know him.
In the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, we are spending time and being embraced by Jesus. In order to love Jesus we need to come to know him and spend time with him. Reading the Gospels and being with him in the Eucharist are ways for us to do this.
Then we need to show that love by caring for Jesus in the poor, the lonely, in our families, in our parish, in our community. When we care for someone in need within our world, we are following the call of Jesus, “feed my sheep.”
So, the key question for each Catholic is, “Do you love me?” In your heart, meet Jesus asking you that question directly to you, “Do you love me?” Then we will also hear that call of Jesus, “Feed my sheep.” For it is not words, but actions that reveal our answer to that question. When we care for someone in need, then we are feeding his sheep.
Go home this week and spend time reflecting on that question with Jesus, “Do you love me?” By your life how are you answering that question?