Each to His Own Mission

John 21:20-25
Acts 28:16-20.30-31 / Ps 11

If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?
(John 21:22)

When called, why look over your shoulder?
Accept the responsibility . . .
Don’t pass your mission to another
When you hear His Words, “Come follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’ This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
(John 21:20-25)


John and James were the second set of brothers that Jesus called to be His apostles. The first were Peter and his brother Andrew, who were also fishermen. These brothers were Jesus’ closest friends. While Peter was the recognized leader, John was more intimate to Jesus, seated by his side during their meals. He was not only privy to all the affairs and activities of the Master, but even heard His most private conversations. Which is why the Gospel of St. John is the most personal among the four evangelists who wrote about the life and lessons of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

St. John the apostle and evangelist did remain as the longest surviving apostle of Jesus, but only because God’s primary purpose for him was to write down the intimate thoughts, teachings and prayers of His Beloved Son. One would think that St. John the Evangelist would have primacy over St. Peter among all the apostles. He was the only one among the Twelve who did not leave his Master at the time of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. He was made guardian of our Lady by Jesus. He was the first to reach the tomb at the resurrection; and he was the first to recognize the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias. But in his wisdom and humility, St. John deferred to St. Peter as the leader of the early Church. He knew his role, and early on gave moral support and companionship to Peter, affirming his leadership. He knew that Peter needed that support for the sake of the early church. In spite of his firm faith in Jesus, Peter at first had only a vague understanding of the mission and the work that the Lord had planned for him. John, the closest to Jesus, provided him the guidance he needed, as we see him accompanying Peter after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Writing in the third person, John said, “It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.” (Jn.21:24)

Each one of us has a unique destiny to fulfill in God’s design. Let us not look behind us to see how others are doing, but look straight ahead to what the Lord is leading us to accomplish. Don’t worry, God will provide us with a companion or community to make sure that we will succeed in our life’s mission.

Grant me, Lord, a companion like St. John, resolute in mind and will, but gentle of heart. With such a friend to guide me, I will not be afraid to take on the tasks You have set for us to do, or places You send us to proclaim the Good News. Amen.

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