This Sunday’s readings move us to the second part of a “Risen Christ” experience: the part where we are asked to change.
Jesus: “Do you love me?”
Peter: “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus: “Feed my sheep.”
IOW, “Quit hanging out in high priest’s courtyard while the other disciples are elsewhere, quit jumping in and out of fishing boats and leaving others behind. Do things differently. Be changed. Feed my sheep.”
Very challenging. Apparently it is not enough for us to say, “Yes Lord, you know that we love you” unless we are also willing to make changes and better care for one another.
There are so many ways in which we could change.
- We live in an inherently racist society that bestows unearned privilege on some and unfairly burdens others. We could change and start working to dismantle that unjust system.
- We have become a society in which many cannot afford basic nutrition or health care. We could change and start building a system that meets those human needs.
- We shop and dine and otherwise gather in buildings that make the disabled feel like an unwelcome nuisance. We could change and start building facilities that are fully accessible.
- We pray and worship using sexist language. We could change and start re-writing our liturgical language.
- We are watching anti-Semitic rhetoric turn into deadly violence. We could change and eliminate anti-Jewish hymns, prayers and bible readings (like “the conversion of Saul” – this Sunday’s first reading) from our liturgy.
Not a full list, of course. Any one of those changes would cost us time, money, attention, compassion and at least a little inconvenience.
Here’s the thing: after we have seen the Risen Christ, we are asked to change. Otherwise, we are just singing the Same Song on a Different Day.