“Lord, why is it that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” The question is one that must occur to all of us at times. Jesus doesn’t address it. He seems to imply that the answer must remain as much God’s secret as is the solution of the related issue raised in the first reading: Why did God choose Israel, and provide the Gentiles only with the clues suggested by Creation?
Jesus’ failure to answer reminds me of the episode at the very end of John’s Gospel where He refuses to enlighten Peter about the fate of the Beloved Disciple. In both cases he makes use of an inquiry about the destiny of other people to turn the questioner’s attention to his own life. Jesus has not come to satisfy our intellectual curiosity but to lead us on the way of salvation.
In the seaside scene, Jesus advice to Peter is succinct: “Your business is to follow me (Jn21:23).” To the group in the Upper Room He gives more detailed instructions: love me; hope in my word. If you do, you will share in the loving communion of the Father and the Son. As for the things you really need to know, you will have the Holy Spirit as your mentor. What more could one ask as a lifetime agenda?
Sister Mary O’Brien, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Sisters’ community in Union City. NJ.