I’m an affectionate person. I grew up with people who expressed their affection often, with what some might call redundancy, happy to announce over and over how much they loved and cared for one another, usually with some physical sign – a hug, a kiss, a tickle.
So Jesus asks over and over in the Gospel reading for this weekend: Do you love me? I can imagine myself in Peter’s place, thinking “of course I love you! Didn’t you see me jump out of the boat? I know I blew it before your crucifixion, but couldn’t you tell before that? Of course I love you!”
Maybe it wasn’t Jesus who needed to be convinced – maybe this was an opportunity for Peter to convince himself. When I love someone, I want to say it over and over. Every time Jesus asks me I stop and think: Do I love? The answer is yes. Maybe I do not love enough, maybe I do not love the right way, maybe I do not love manifestly, but I know that I love and that such a love has defined my life.
So when Jesus asks Peter this weekend Do you love me?, listen to his answer and listen to your own. Don’t fret over if you’re doing it right, just ask yourself if you love, and relish the opportunity to say yes, of course, always I love you.