"You Follow Me"
June 4th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Today’s Gospel passage comes from the very end of the Gospel of John and contains an important lesson pertaining to the advancement of the spiritual life. The disciple whom Jesus loved is St. John; thus, it is he about whom St. Peter, Jesus, and the others are speaking in this passage. Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus’ reply may seem cold at first: “…What concern is it of yours? You follow [M]e.”
“What concern is it of yours?” Twice Jesus repeated these words to the disciples upon being asked about St. John. In this way, Christ gently reminded them that it is not their business to know how God would reward His beloved disciple. He told them to focus instead on their own spiritual lives, rather than becoming distracted by comparing themselves with others.
The same holds true for all Catholics. When we see a person devoutly practicing and living their faith, or one upon whom God has bestowed many blessings or miracles, there is a temptation to begin to compare ourselves to that person. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that God loves that person more than He loves us, or else He surely would have blessed us just as much.
Today’s Gospel passage shows that Jesus does not want us to succumb to such thoughts. When we compare ourselves to others, we essentially make ourselves ungrateful to God for the infinite blessings that He has bestowed upon us. All of us are beloved by Jesus, and He showers graces and blessings upon each of us in unique ways. Some of these blessings may be more visible than others, but they are still there nonetheless.
St. John ends his Gospel with the following words:
“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”
After His Ascension, Jesus has continued to do “many things” in the lives of His children, whom He loves infinitely. Instead of comparing our blessings to those of others, may we instead focus on the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us. Then, filled with gratitude, may we turn inward and strive to remove everything within our hearts that separates us from the love of God, so that we may follow Him ever more closely.