To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever. Revelation 5:13
through your only Son you overcome death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that we who celebrate our Lord’s resurrection,
may, through the renewing power of your Spirit,
rise from the death of sin to the life of
righteousness; through the same Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
- Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)
- Psalm 30
- Revelation 5:6-14
- John 21:1-19
- Acts 9:36-43
- Psalm 23
- Revelation 7:9-17
- John 10:22-30
A Thought to Ponder
Easter 3 – John 21:1-19
The Risen Jesus appears to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
Jesus said to Simon the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love?”
Chapter 21 is a kind of “appendix” to John’s Gospel: John 20:30-31 seems to be the original ending of the Gospel. The events recorded in Chapter 21 may have been included to challenge those who doubted the physical resurrection of Jesus, who believed that what the disciples saw were visions or hallucinations. Here the Risen Jesus is a very real and physical presence, who points to the fish, lights the fire, cooks, and serves the fish.
Today’s Gospel records two events that take place at the Sea of Tiberias after the resurrection. In a scene reminiscent of Luke 5:1-11, Peter and a group of apostles have been fishing all night and have caught nothing. At daybreak Jesus appears on shore and tells them to try casting their net on the starboard side. The catch is a living parable of the Church’s apostolic activity: the number 153 is probably intended as a universal number (some have suggested it represents the number of known species of fish at the time), indicating the Church’s mission to all men and women; the unbroken net may also be seen as a symbol of the new Church.
The miraculous catch includes two typical Johannine themes: the contrast of light and darkness, day (the resurrection) and night (sin and evil), and the Eucharistic overtone of the meal, of Jesus taking bread and fish and giving it to Peter and the disciples.
After the meal, sitting by the fire he has made, Jesus invites Peter to atone for his triple denial of Jesus by the fire in the high priest’s courtyard by declaring three times his complete love and unfailing devotion to him in the light of this Easter fire. We can hear the pain and hurt in Peter’s voice, but also his conviction in his response after Jesus asks the third time: “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus is not taunting Peter but calling him to move beyond the past to take on the challenges ahead. In forgiving Peter as he does, Jesus transforms Peter’s regret and shame into understanding and commitment to the Gospel the fisherman has witnessed. Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10) passes on the role of servant/shepherd to Peter and his brothers. It is a moment of re-creation and resurrection for Peter.
When we act out of love, when we put aside our own fears and expectations for the sake of others, when we seek to imitate the selfless compassion of the Risen One, we will discover how strong and indestructible our own “nets” are; we will realise a “catch” of good things despite the hopelessness of the night, the fear of the unknown deep, the weight of the catch we struggle to haul to shore.
Jesus’ lifting-up of Peter’s love and commitment transforms Peter’s utter failure into understanding and wisdom that enables Peter to take on his role in the post-Resurrection story. The Easter Christ calls Peter and his brothers and now all of us to take on his work of reconciliation: to possess — despite our doubts and disappointments — the heart of the Risen Jesus to forgive and seek forgiveness, to be the means of enabling God’s mercy to be realised in our own families, neighbourhoods and communities. Through forgiveness and in constantly seeking reconciliation with others, we enable such “resurrection” to take place in our own families, neighbourhoods and communities.
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