Do you know what's great about this weekends scriptures? It shows how finally, after all the idiocy they are recorded to have, they finally get it. Jesus appears to them in one of his fantastic, but overly common signs and they don't even question that it's Him. They accept that this man fishing with them, breaking bread with them and finally asking their leader (Peter) if they love Him, they GET IT!
Do we feed His lambs? If your community is ritually ready for kids around Age 7 to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the Eucharist, then yes, we are feeding the lambs in one way.
Do we tend His sheep? Well, if you are active in a ministry (which you are, you were baptized either as a baby or an adult) you are in some way tending to the flock of the Faithful. Don't you buy that idea? Look at your family. If you are a parent, you feed the lambs (your kids) if your job oversees any other person you tend to the sheep.
Do we feed His sheep? YES, but not just the ones in our pasture. We are called to feed those who need us to feed them because of our Baptism into a life of service to those who hunger for Truth. We are commissioned at Confirmation to use those 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit to feed the sheep of the flock. We build food shelves and assist the needy. We keep on keeping on!
Brothers and sisters, this passage is how John's Gospel commissions the Apostles to the first order of Bishops in the Church. The crazy thing is that it didn't stop with them; it continues each generation through Baptism. It continues each day through Eucharist; it continues each second in every breath we take. We live as commissioned apostles of Jesus, the Christ.
I'd wager a pretty hefty bet that if we were to really make an effort to do these 3 requests of the Lord, we would find that human suffering lessens, poverty decrease, and the new generation of lonely people find their companions on this journey of life.
The Book of Acts:
Today, we Catholic Christians are faced with an uphill battle. The battle for the soul of our Church. I 'm not talking culture wars here (Tridentine Vs. Vernacular Mass) I am talking about the greatest abuse of human sexuality in the Church.
Some believe the Pope has been too soft on this issue. I am going to say, no! Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI were too soft on the issue. Francis was handed a crap storm to cope with, and his Pastoral nature is ruffling feathers of the protective theologians in a way unforeseen. They think Francis is a Heretic and a fool. I think he's doing what Jesus would do and ask us to sin no more and continue the work of evangelization.
However, you and I are the faithful here. We are the ones still doing good in Jesus name. Our heritage is written in the Acts of the Apostles. They were banned from Jewish temples and synagogues because of their preaching in Jesus name. Likewise, those who are doing the work of Jesus's healing and challenge/correction are being lambasted by those who would rather consolidate power than surrender it.
Here's a quick lesson on human nature, we have a need for control. It's actually part of our fundamental personhood. That need will drive us to do some pretty stupid things in the short term to feel that control. Just look at the Pope's listed above. Most of them are Saints for the work they did accomplish but this blemish, this sin, this overly controlling nature is what did all that good work in forsaking the Truth of the Churches teaching on Human Dignity.
The best idea I have for us modern-day apostles is to ignore the power structure and bask in the glory of our local Church. Of course the Bishops are successors of St. Peter, but Peter screwed up plenty of times. We also are challenged to do our best right here in our own Parishes. Our baptismal duty is to uphold the Church, to love the Church back to a state of witness to the Truth of Christ.
The Franciscan theology might be the closest model we have to build a Church that strips the human trappings away. I would assert that is why Pope Francis I chose such a title. He understands that rebuilding this Church as a beacon of Hope for the world is going to take action, lots and lots of activities that are not always the most substantial moves, but the most caring and kind.
I think you and I are up for the task. After all, if we don't do it, no one else will.