“Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, ‘Master, who is the one who will betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.’ So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just ‘What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?'”
“It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”
It can be so easy to let speculation about other people’s paths distract us from our true goal in life and that’s Jesus’ plan for us! “Lord, what about him?”…”What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” (John 21:21,22) We often will wonder why other people seem to enjoy singular blessings or why others have to endure so many different hardships and roadblocks on their way to holiness. But whether our uneasy reflections are somewhat tinged with relief or even envy, they can actually hold each of us back from making any kind of growth in our own spiritual lives.
“Lord, why did they put him in charge of that committee when I know I have a lot more experience and expertise than he does?” or “Why did she win the lottery and I didn’t?” or “Why are my kids the only ones who seem to have dropped out of school and have wrecked marriages?” and “Why was my husband’s cancer detected so early and was cured so easily, while this poor woman has suffered one futile treatment after another?” These kinds of questions can go on and on in our minds.
However, every time we let this happen, Jesus seeks to redirect our attention away from them, just like He did with Peter. He tries to assure us that He is dealing with each individual according to His own personal wisdom and plan. Then He goes onto tell us the only thing that we really need to hear is “Follow Me.” After that all else is secondary. For when we let ourselves follow in the footsteps and under the guidance of Jesus, we will find the answers to many of our questions and concerns. And for the questions we feel are not answered we will learn the art of trusting and surrendering to Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, for example, Peter asked Jesus about the fate of John, his fellow apostle. However, Jesus responded by telling him that what would happen to John was Jesus’ business and not that of Peter’s. All Peter needed to know was that he needed to follow the Lord and nothing else. Of course Jesus wants us to be concerned about our families, friends and those who are needy among us. Yes, He wants us to be concerned about each other’s futures. However the basis for all of our concerns need to be their welfare and not out of jealousy or curiosity.
Each life in this world has its own path and has its own twists and turns. Jesus wants us all to face these twists and turns with confidence, courage and finally with trust in knowing that Jesus is the one in control and He knows what the plan is. Sure, He doesn’t always let us in on all that lies ahead and He also doesn’t always tell us His plans for the others in our lives. However, He does assure each of us that He will be with us each and every step of the way if we just trust and believe.
Jesus, I want to follow you wholeheartedly. Please direct my path.