Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reflection: John 21:1-14


Third Sunday of Easter — John 21:1-14

The opening scene of this Gospel took place at the Sea of Tiberias.  Simon Peter and several other disciples were walking along the shore of the sea.  After a while, Peter decided to go fishing.  He was tired of doing nothing.  Was he also hoping that Jesus would appear once again and he was tired of waiting?  Perhaps he thought that the fishing would distract him.  It would be better than simply waiting.

Peter told the other disciples what he had decided and several of them chose to accompany him.  They went out in the boat and fished for several hours but they caught absolutely nothing.  How frustrating! I wonder what the disciples talked about while they were together in the boat.  Did they talk about Jesus? Did they keep silent?  Were they feeling lost and alone?  Were they angry at the events that had transpired?  These events not only cost Jesus his life, but their own lives were devastated.  They had given their all to Jesus, and now he was gone.  What should they do?

At dawn, Jesus appeared to them.  He was standing on the shore, not far from where the disciples were in the boat.  The disciples did not recognize Jesus.  They noticed a man standing on the shore.  This stranger called out and asked the disciples if they had caught any fish.  They replied that they had not.  This man then told them to cast the net out on the other side of the boat.  Did the disciples actually believe that would make a difference?  After all, their boat was not huge.  It was highly unlikely that a school of fish would be only on one side of the boat; however, they did as the man said.

Naturally, they were astounded when within a few minutes their nets were brimming over with fish.  There were so many fish in the nets that they were worried that the nets would break.  They also didn’t know how they would get all of the fish to shore.

At that point, John recognized Jesus and told Peter: “It is the Lord!”  Impetuously, Peter jumped into the sea.  The rest of the disciples made it to shore as quickly as they could.  Imagine how impatient they must have been to get to the shore and how excited they were to see Jesus.  Once again they would be with their friend, teacher, and Lord.

When they reached the shore, Jesus had a fire going.  Take a moment and imagine what it would be like to sit around a campfire or a kitchen table with Jesus.  About what would you talk with Jesus?  Is there something you would like to ask him?  Or would you simply rejoice at being in his presence?

At times, Jesus appears to us through different people in our lives.  It is not always clear that it is Jesus who is with us.  We may have a sense that this person was sent to us for a purpose, even though we may not know what that purpose is.  Jesus comes to us every day.  Most often though he does not cook us lunch.  However, he will talk with us and nourish us with his word and his body, in the Eucharist and through one another.  Today may our minds, hearts and senses be awake and alert to his coming!

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