THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Here we are at the 3rd Sunday of Easter and the schools are open again after the Easter holiday. It really seems no time since we got the ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday and yet here we are at the 3rd Sunday of Easter 6 or seven weeks on.
In the Gospel story for today we see Simon Peter and his companions catching nothing after fishing all night. At dawn as they approach shore, someone on the shore whom they do not recognize directs them to cast out their net. When the net is filled with a large catch, the beloved disciple recognizes Jesus, now risen from death, and says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When they reach shore, they see a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus invites them to eat with him. He takes bread and gives it to them and in like manner the fish. Jesus then asks Peter three times if he loves him, and says to him in turn, “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep.” Jesus then speaks of the kind of death Simon Peter will undergo, and says to him, “Follow me.” His call is exactly the same for you and me when he says to us FOLLOW ME.
In today’s gospel passage, John also links friendship with Jesus with his real presence at our Eucharistic meal. The meal Jesus shares with his disciples together with the feeding of the large crowd (John 6) and the Last Supper Discourse reveal the meaning of the Eucharist for us. Jesus, the Risen Lord, truly is with us at our sacred meal— speaks to us, prays with us, leads us in self-giving to the Father, gives himself to us as the bread of life and cup of salvation. He calls us his disciples and his friends: the life implications remain the same. The way we will fulfil his request to follow him as disciples in service of others is unique and particular for each of us. We can count on the Spirit of Jesus to guide us in discerning what that service will be.Jesus is always here with us! This is our joy! This is our everyday Easter! That is our life in the joy of the Spirit! For Jesus said: “I am with you always, to the end of time.” (Mt. 28:20)Remembering this brings us happiness and joy: this memory, this memorial of the Lord who becomes sacramental in the Eucharist – is this not a true apparition of the Lord? For Jesus can appear to his disciples in a manner that is mysterious and real through his grace, through the gifts of his Spirit, just as he appeared to his Apostles on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.
Today’s Gospel, which many people consider the most beautiful of the resurrection stories, has many themes: the failed fishing trip, the inability of Peter to recognise the risen Jesus, the miracle of the fish and the simple, powerful reassuring words of Jesus to his confused disciples: “Come and have breakfast.” We can all find ourselves a place in this Gospel story, as we continue to wonder at the resurrection. Let us continue our journey during this Easter Time as we go forward in faith.