FRIDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
READ: JN 21:1-14
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.
Every time that Jesus appears to the Apostles, he brings with him some sort of sign, a proof, in a sense, of who he is. Today, there are three signs. The charcoal fire, the breakfast, and the 153 fish. Each of these would have been very personal references for the Apostles, and thanks to the Gospel writers/God, can be personal signs of God's goodness to us as well.
The charcoal fire. The last time a fire was mentioned specifically in the Gospels was at the moment of Peter's denial of Jesus. While the Lord had appeared to the Apostles twice already, the issue still hadn't been brought up. Although we don't read about it specifically today, Jesus is setting the scene for Peter and in the verses following this reading, they have a reconciling conversation aka confession. It's important to realize that Jesus doesn't rub sin in our face, but through the Holy Spirit, we are convicted by him in our heart, as a way of inviting us to find healing in his forgiveness and mercy.
The breakfast. The Apostles had been fishing during the night. This was a normal process for fishing back in the day. But, the recognition here is deeper. Night in the Bible often represents separation from God, or doubt, or fear. It's no coincidence then that Jesus appears to them at dawn. Even though the Apostles have encountered the risen Lord twice already, they still don't quite get it. Jesus sets up this third meeting to get the point across. So what's with the breakfast? Two reasons, both Eucharistic. The first is that the sea of Tiberius was also the sight of the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Jesus is reminding the Apostles, and us, of his ability to provide sustenance to His apostles. Secondly, the last time the Apostles had eaten with Jesus was the Last Supper. The meal they eat together now is a reminder of the Eucharistic meal that they ate with Him before he died.
The catch of fish. The whole scene is very similar to the call of Peter found in other Gospels where Jesus declared, "from now on, you will be fishing men". Fishing was Peter and the Sons of Zebedee's first career. What they did before they met Jesus. The point of the miraculous catch is to remind the Apostles of their mission, and that they are supposed to be living in a new way. This new way of life begins with the Resurrection. The mission will begin on the day of Pentecost, a mission that will yield an abundant "catch" of souls. The call for us is the same. After encountering the Risen Jesus, we are supposed to live differently. This doesn't necessarily mean a career change, but it does mean a change of heart. It means a change in motivation, and a new perspective on what is really important. Life in the Resurrection puts trust in God and his plan for our salvation and joy first. This is why, as radical as it may seem, our mission is the same as St. Peter's. To go and catch souls. We can't do this without "recognizing" Jesus first. But once we have, and begin to obey his commands, our lives will overflow with His love and bring to Him an abundance of people. Two questions come from this: do you "recognize" Jesus as the source of authentic life, and salvation? Do you have a desire for people to come to the same recognition? If not, ask Him for his help. Without Him we can't do anything, nor does he want us to.
What is the "charcoal fire" in your relationship with God, the issue that you haven't yet addressed with Him?
Imagine having breakfast with Jesus. What is your conversation? Do you remain silent like the Apostles? If you talk, what is it about? How is the Mass like this meal? How is prayer similar to having a meal with Jesus?
The two questions: do you "recognize" Jesus as the source of authentic life, and salvation? Do you have a desire for people to come to the same recognition?
For Further Reflection:
"The Charcoal Fire" a Homily by Father John Riccardo
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever." Let those who fear the LORD say, "His mercy endures forever." The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. O LORD, grant salvation! O LORD, grant prosperity! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD; we bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light. R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
How can you be a "fisher of men" this week?