Friday, 25 May 2007

"Come have breakfast."

It didn't look like much, but it's just about the only "beach" anywhere around Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee). Our pilgrimage last October took us to Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Tabgha, and then finally here, near the tiny church of the Primacy of St. Peter. I had finally reached the spot where Our Blessed Lord uttered my favorite words: "Come have breakfast." (John 21:12)
But He said something else on this spot, too -- see this link for a handy reminder:
I thought I would mention it since Msgr. Rossi (no, not Msgr. Ross! Not yours truly!) today delivered one of the finest homilies I have ever heard. It started out drily, and he modestly claimed not to be a Scripture scholar. He took us through today's Gospel, the triple questioning of Peter by Jesus, "Do you love Me?"
The first two times the question is put to Peter, Jesus uses "agapas me" to which Peter answers "philo se", but the for the third question Jesus uses "phileis me" and a slightly exasperated Peter answers "philo se" again.
As we all know, there are three terms in Greek for "love" -- agape, philia, and eros. The two featured in the Gospel passage are usually differentiated along the lines of "agape" being selfless, unconditional love, love without reserve, while "philia" is more often translated as brotherly love or friendship or loyalty or dispassionate love, or even "like." "Agape" is used for "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
It is as if, Msgr. Rossi pointed out, Peter can only respond with "I really like you/care about you" whereas Jesus is asking for his whole heart. Finally, on the third attempt, Jesus meets Peter where he is, lowering Himself to what Peter is capable of at the moment, "philo se", and leaves it at that. Then, after giving him a glimpse of his future (martyrdom), and telling him not to be such a busybody about John or the other Disciples or what will happen to them, says, "Follow me." The question is, of course, being put to all of us, and until we can answer with something beyond "I really like you" we will have to do the same.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house, including the large man behind me.
The Greek and Latin and a variety of English translations can be found here:

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