Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
"What concern is it of yours? You follow me." In this concluding verse of the Gospel of John, Peter is looking around to see the disciple John and wonders what is in store for him. Jesus tells Peter, just do what you need to do and don’t worry about anyone else.
I can imagine Jesus having a little heart to heart talk with Peter. He’s saying something like, "You know, Peter, the world is a big place full of diverse people. It is going to take all of you with your unique personalities and talents to share the good news of salvation in so many places and among so many people. You each have a role to play, so don’t try to play each other’s roles and miss out on the role you’re to play."
The selection from Acts of the Apostles for today, also the closing verses of that book, recalls the odd lot fallen to St. Paul who is under house arrest in Rome. Surely he could not have foreseen such a circumstance in which he finds himself witnessing to the Gospel. We don’t hear him asking where Peter is or what John is up to. He adapts his ministry to the circumstances of his life, and trusts that others are doing likewise. We find our ministry wherever we are.
"You follow me," Jesus says to me. Don’t be worried about others and how they are called to follow Jesus and live the Gospel. How freeing it is to know that I don’t have to do what they do, and they shouldn’t have to do what I do. We can cover more ground that way. The many facets of the Gospel are lived out in surprising ways by uniquely gifted women and men. Jesuit and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins captures aptly the diversity of our discipleship. I invite you to prayerfully recite these lines: [He] Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is – – / Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places, / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his / To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and is the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.