Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Peter, Do You Love Me?

This was a quick article I wrote up once which was inspired by something that Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. pointed out to me when I spent a summer helping out at his monastery. Since the second part of this Gospel is the Gospel for the Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, I thought I would post it here. My Greek is very limited, so be patient.
So, a bow to Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B who can electronically bilocate here or there.

How important is the Latin (and Greek) in the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter in year C?

I have never seen this Gospel officially translated into English in an accurate way. If you look at the Latin and even the Greek, it is not merely Jesus asking Peter repeatedly if he loves Him and Peter answering yes each time. Looking at the Latin and Greek, you get a far different story. Jesus is actually making Peter realize that he does not love Jesus enough. He basically calls Peter to the carpet. Peter is not hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, he is hurt because Jesus catches his “bluff.” The key is to realize the three different words for “love” and the difference between them.

In a very over-simplified way they mean:
Latin -- Greek -- Meaning
Amo -- Eros -- Simple love or basic friendship.
Caritas -- ???? -- Deeper love of neighbor
Diligens -- Agape --- The type of love that someone would be willing to die for whom they love.

Diligens is the highest love such as in John 3:16, “For God so loved (dilexit) the world that He sent (really “would give” = daret) His only-Begotten Son ...”
This Gospel deals with the words “amo” and “diligens.”
Sadly, all these words are both translated indistinctively into English as just “love.”

See below (mainly the second paragraph):
At that time, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of His disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered Him, "No." So He said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask Him, "Who are You?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to His disciples after being raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love (diligis) Me more than these?" Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, You know that I love (amo) you." Jesus said to him, "Feed My lambs." He then said to Simon Peter a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (diligis) Me?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love (amo) You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep." Jesus said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (amas) Me?" Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, "Do you love (amas) Me?" and he said to Him, "Lord, You know everything; you know that I love (amo) You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, "Follow me.”

Jesus asks a first time if Peter diligit Jesus. Peter says he amat Him.
Jesus asks a second time if Peter diligit Jesus. Peter says again he amat Him.
The thrid time Jesus shows Peter his own words by basically saying, “Peter, do you only amas me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked if he amat Jesus instead of diligens Him. Peter knew he was “caught” and had to admit that Jesus knew all and He knew that Peter only amat Him. Thus Jesus strengthens Him by basically saying that Peter will be called upon to diligere Him, “by what kind of death he would glorify God.”


Denise said...


I am tongue-tied and I didn't even read it aloud. ;0)


Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Chris, I have gotten even with you by invoking your name on my blog.

Roman Sacristan said...

Well, you were the one who inspired my post. Much gratitude for the advertisement and also pointing out the Latin/Greek to me ... [gulp] ... 11 years ago.

Stuart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stuart said...

Great post, Chris!
I've presented this scripture several times to children and adults and never even touched on the depths you've just explained.
re above deletion, I must preview more often!

Ronny said...

Awesome post.