Third Sunday of Easter
The superabundance of God’s kindness ties all of today’s readings together. Especially when life overwhelms us, the Lord provides all we need, and then some. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter takes the lead when facing the Sanhedrin. We might expect the man who denied Jesus to crumble under the imposing glare of the high priest. Instead, the Holy Spirit helps him testify to his faith in Jesus Christ. What Peter had lacked before, courage and conviction, God provides in abundance. Similarly, today’s Gospel shows Jesus providing a surplus of fish for the disciples. They have no luck fishing until the Lord intercedes. Jesus supplies an almost ridiculous number of fish, and he cooks it for them, too. As our reading from Revelation affirms, the overflowing riches of God require constant praise. Countless creatures—“everything in the universe”—cry out to honor the Lord, forever and ever.
Today’s Gospel reveals Peter’s reaction to the difficulties of being a disciple of the risen Jesus. “I am going fishing,” says Peter. Jesus has been tortured, executed, and buried—and then gloriously raised from the dead. He has appeared to the disciples a number of times, but he no longer lives among them as their teacher. The disciples do not exactly understand how to proceed in this unfamiliar and dangerous situation. So Peter goes fishing. He’s hungry, after all, and at least he knows how to fish. Jesus seems to reward Peter’s instinct, and blesses their net with one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Seven troubled men went out in a boat in the middle of the night, when life seemed dark and empty. They caught no fish. What did they do there, in the dark, at sea, amid failure? Very possibly, they thought of their beloved teacher. Silently in their hearts, or together in stories, they recollected moments in their relationship with Jesus. That kind of recollection is prayer. Each one of us can spend time in prayer like this when facing our own challenges.
“COME, HAVE BREAKFAST”
The Gospel goes on to show us how Jesus prepares breakfast for the disciples. Jesus, in his resurrected body, surely has no need for food. As usual, he thinks only of the needs of others. The Gospel describes the charcoal fire that Jesus has prepared, and we can sense the slow, intimate pace of the early-morning encounter: we hear the hissing of cooking fish; we feel dripping clothes dry in the fire’s warmth; we smell bread roasting; and we see Jesus, king of the universe, serving a warm breakfast to his disciples. In so doing, Jesus demonstrates God’s care for us. Sometimes God provides extraordinary miracles for us, like bursting nets. At other times, the Lord offers himself in ordinary circumstances, like breakfast. We follow Jesus’ example by doing what we can to care for others, in extraordinary and ordinary ways.
Today’s Readings: Acts 5:27–32, 40b–41; Ps 30:2, 4, 5–6, 11–12, 13; Rev 5:11–14; Jn 21:1–19 [1–14]
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