The Look of Jesus

In Luke’s Gospel we read: Peter said, “Man I do not know what you are talking about”. At that moment, while he was still speaking, a cock crew; and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter…and Peter went outside and wept bitterly.

“I had a fairly good relationship with the Lord, I would ask him for things, converse with him, praise him, thank him. But always I had this uncomfortable feeling that he wanted me to look into his eyes, and I would not. I would talk, but look away when I sensed he was looking at me. I always looked away, and I knew why. I was afraid. I thought I should find there an accusation of some unrepented sin. I thought I should find a demand there…there would be something he wanted from me. One day, I finally summoned up the courage and looked! There was no accusation. There was no demand. The eyes just said, ‘I love you’. I looked searchingly. Still the only message was, ‘I love you’.

(And I walked out, and like Peter…I wept.”

Look of love: Jesus’ gaze will change your life, Pope Francis says – extracts from Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

The gaze of Jesus can change a person’s life just like it did with St Peter, Pope Francis said.

“He always looks at us with love. He asks us something, he forgives us and he gives us a mission,” the pope said during an early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The Pope said he was struck by the exchange of gazes in John 21:15-19, which includes Jesus, after the resurrection, asking Peter three times if he loves him.

When Jesus first met his apostle, “Jesus fixed his gaze upon him and said, “You are Simon, son of John; you will be called Peter”, the Pope said. “That was the first gaze, the gaze of mission” and Peter responded enthusiastically.

Then, after Jesus had been arrested and Peter denied Jesus three times, he feels the gaze of Jesus again and “weeps bitterly,” the Pope said.

“The enthusiasm of following the Lord was turned into tears because he had sinned, he had denied Jesus,” the Pope said. “That gaze changed Peter’s heart more than the first did. The first changed his name and vocation, but the second was a gaze that changed his heart; it was a conversion to love.”

The third gaze is recounted, the Pope said, when Jesus looks at Peter, asks him if he loves him and tells him to feed his sheep.

The third gaze, he said, confirms Peter’s mission but also asks Peter to confirm his love.

The Gospel recounts more of the conversation, with Jesus warning Peter that his future will not be easy and that, in fact, he also will suffer and die.

Ask yourself, “how is Jesus gazing upon me? With a call? With forgiveness? With a mission?” the Pope said.

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The Look of Jesus recounted above was on a piece of paper I treasure and every Good Friday I look at it and meditate on it. This year it spoke to me in a special way. At this time in the middle of lock down we sit a bit more and reflect on our lives what we have done and what we should not have done and what we have not done and should have done etc and often the people have died or moved away and something disturb us. Imagine now that you meet that person again and you have these same feelings that Peter had when he met Jesus after the resurrection. Imagine that you are afraid and the person you harmed is walking towards you and you are afraid to look into that person’s eyes. Imagine that when you do look, that person looks at you with only love. Imagine that the love they have for you is much much greater than the harm you might have done them. This is the meaning of resurrection. Not staying in the tomb with our fears but coming out into the light and receiving love.

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