Reading 1: Acts 25:13B-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB
Gospel: John 21:15-19
Described at length in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the hero’s journey serves as the tale every culture tells. It is something we see over and over within movies, books, and tv shows. The journey’s path typically shows a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. The hero’s journey works because it is not bound to one ideal and is something shared among everyone. It is seen within Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Marvel Movies, and even ourselves.
At the start of the journey there is little awareness to a problem that exists or is to arise. As the problem becomes aparrent there is a realization of the need for change followed by resistance to that change. The fear must be overcome in order for the change to be committed to. Then the hero usually follows trials and temptations. At this point it is made clear the need for major change at which the attempt causes life or death but in the end rebirth. The consequences are faced, the focus is renewed, and the problem is overcome. It is repetitive but told differently everytime and also a relatable story to our own lives.
However when it comes to our own hero’s journey, we see a new challenge for us in todays Gospel. God asks Peter one simple question: “Do you love me?”. In which Peter replies like most of us probably would: “Yes Lord, of course I do. More than anything. You know this.” Yet Jesus asks Peter two more times if he loves him. Why? Because our actions must speak louder than our words or answers. God tells us by his crucifixion our hero’s journey is successful and He tells us today that at times he will “lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18). If we say, like Peter, we love God then we must express it in our faith but trusting in his plan and never doubting. But at times we do (because we will) turning to the Lord for the guidance.
If we are to look for an example of this love, we look to Paul in the first reading. Paul faces trial and quite possibly death. Yet in the two years of his custody he spent it on his knees in prayer and devotion to the Lord. Why? Because he trusted in His plan. Once he was imprisoned Paul spent that time writing a lot of the letters we see in scritpure today. He chose not to waste a single moment of breathe God gave him because of his love for Him.
God commands us all the same two words he tells that to Peter: to follow me (John 21:19) .