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Third Sunday of Easter

May 4, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Christ is risen, creator of all;

He has shown pity on all people!

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 21: 1-19

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.  He revealed himself in this way.  Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”  They said to him, “We also will come with you.”  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing

 When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”  They answered him, “No.”  So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.  So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”  When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.  The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish.  When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”  So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.  Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”  And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. 

Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.  This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.  When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 

 He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

 Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

This Gospel reading is referred to as a Post-Resurrection account.  This means that the passage is a significant story concerning Jesus Christ after His Death and Resurrection.  This Gospel happens to be my most favorite Post-Resurrection story.

In his Gospel, Saint Luke records a Post-Resurrection story concerning two disciples on their way to the town of Emmaus.  The Evangelist Luke demonstrates the intensity of the disciples’ despair and downcast spirits by telling us that they are walking away from Jerusalem which means that they are abandoning their relationship with Jesus whom they believed to be dead!  Today’s Gospel from Saint John, in a similar way tells a story about how Peter and six other disciples also walked away from the ministry of Jesus and returned to their former life of fishing for fishI am going fishing!

Remember, Jesus had called Peter to fish no longer for sea creatures but to fish only for men on behalf of God!  Peter not only walked away from Jesus, but in an act of bad example he influenced the other disciples to follow him and not to follow Jesus!   Therefore, we are not surprised that their efforts at fishing without Jesus was a failure — they caught nothing!  Have we not learned also in our own lives that when we attempt life without Jesus, we can expect nothing but failure!

In my estimation, this story of Peter is more dramatic and consequential than Peter’s three denials of Jesus – but nonetheless they are all connected.  Peter retreated to his former way of life, and had given up the new life in Jesus!   However, as shocking as all this may be the real significance and incredible nature of the story is the response of Jesus.  Allow my imagination to fill in the blanks and hopefully demonstrate how incredible this scene is.  Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord with holes in His hands, feet and side is collecting sticks along the edge of the Sea of Tiberias in order to build a charcoal fire so that the heart-broken disciples can have something to eat — Come, have breakfast. 

The Good Lord, even after all He had endured loves the disciples so much that He is willing to humiliate Himself by picking up sticks, building a fire and serving breakfast to His wayward followers.   Is there anything that the Lord would not do in order to bring us closer to Himself and the Loving Father?  

I meditate on this passage often because it gives me such hope in knowing that my Lord will always come after me!  Our Risen Lord loves us so much that there is nothing He would not do to save us!  And so today He asks us three times, do we love Him?  How could anyone refuse such love; how could we not say along with Peter: Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.

Prosit!

Monsignor Joseph Marino

 

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