Loving and Feeding

– Friday 7th week of Easter –

“Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”  [John 21:17]

Innately we seem to know there is a connection between loving and feeding. Whether it is a mother putting her new born to her breast, a family celebration, a romantic candlelight dinner, a reunion of friends or an adult child feeding their elderly parent, we get the connection.

Jesus certainly did.  We hear of him sharing food with those on the margins of society, with the rich and the powerful, with the mob who sought his company, and with his disciples. In each of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), Jesus commissions the disciples to go out to the whole world proclaiming the good news. In the gospel of John, Jesus exhorts his disciples to wash feet and to feed sheep!

As Jesus invites us into the mission of washing and feeding, he does not leave us orphaned. (Jn 14:18) Jesus continues the work of feeding.  We know this particularly when we are fed at the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist. We also experience this in the wonder of creation, the beauty of friendship, the dignity of work, and the security of love.

We too, like Peter, are called to be shepherds for God’s people. And so today let us be grateful for all the ways we are nourished and let this gratitude be expressed in our generous feeding of others. We can then join Peter in his response to Jesus, “Lord you know I love you”.

by Kari Hatherell osu

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