Peter's successor knows that in his person and in his activity, grace and the law of love uphold, give life and adorn everything. And in face of the whole world, the holy Church finds its support in the exchange of love between Jesus and him, Simon Peter, the son of John, as from a support that is both invisible and visible: Jesus is invisible to the eyes of the flesh, and the pope, the vicar of Christ, is visible to the eyes of the whole world. This mystery of love between Jesus and his vicar must be weighed well. What an honor and what sweetness for me, but at the same time, what cause for the littleness, the nothingness that I am to be overwhelmed and embarrassed.
My life must be totally one of love for Jesus and at the same time, one of total outpouring of kindness and of sacrifice for every soul and for the whole world. During this episode in the gospel there is a direct passing on to the law of sacrifice. Jesus himself announces this to Peter: I tell you solemnly: as a young man you fastened your belt and went about as you pleased, but when you are older you will stretch out your hands, and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.
By the Lords grace, I have not yet entered that old age, but having completed eighty years, I am on the threshold. So I must hold myself ready for that last period in my life, where limitations and sacrifices are awaiting me, even to the sacrifice of physical life and the opening up of eternal life. O Jesus, here I am, ready to stretch out my hands, the hands that are already trembling and weak, and to allow another to help me to get dressed and to support me on the road. Lord, when speaking with Peter you added: and will carry you off against your will. Oh! After so many graces from which I have benefited during my long life, there is nothing left that I do not want. It is you who opened up the path for me, o Jesus. Wherever you go I will come after you. (Mt 8:19)
-Blessed Pope John XXIII on today's reading from the Gospel.