Gospel Reflection for Third Sunday of Easter Year C – April 10th 2016
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’ they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’
Jesus spent time lighting the fire so he could cook breakfast on the seashore. Reminds me of my mother getting the fire ready in the old days so we could make toast with red embers for the long toasting fork. Or the way many people each day spend time cooking for their family. The act of cooking is an act of love and care. This is Jesus, the risen Jesus. No big apparitions in the sky, but just the simple act in the dawn of cooking bread and fish.
The meal was for tired disciples. Often in the gospel stories he talked about people preparing meals and serving them. He seemed to say a lot through meals and at meals. He allowed a woman dry his feet with her hair at a meal, and the big image of his first meeting with people was a wedding meal.
In cooking for people love is active. A mother might count up sometime how many meals she has cooked, and call them hours of love. This too is the mission and identity of Jesus.
After death and resurrection comes the Spirit of love. Love given, love received and love shared.
The breakfast meal will end with questions about love. Anything real about the resurrection always ends in being sent by God on the mission of Jesus. He gives little instruction about the mission nor even what it may entail. But it entails being led by God. Life for Jesus is life with Jesus and with the grace of God. We are never alone.
This is the company and the friendship at the source of the life of the soul, and which keeps our unique personality alive. This love comes in prayer and in love and in our loving service of others. This is mission with and for the risen Jesus Christ.
Risen Lord, may I share your great joy.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger