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Homilies :: Latin Rite
3rd Sunday of Easter Download This Homily

May 5, 2019

3rd Sunday of Easter

 

Acts 5:27-32, 40-41,

Rev 5:11-14

Gospel JN 21:1-19


At that time, 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. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to Simon Peter a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."


Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." Jesus said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."

 

Do you love me?

 

The story of the miraculous catch of fish can teach us a good deal about fishing for people. Though this story is similar to the one recounted by Luke in 5: 1-11, yet it includes three specific points given only by John- 1. That Jesus’ call is universal, 2. That he calls to live in unity; and 3. We must share that call with others.


Regarding the number 153 fish, many interpretations have been put forward, all pointing to the variety, size and comprehensive nature of Jesus’ call. According to St. Jerome, since the zoology of his day specified only 153 different kinds of fish, this number would symbolize a gathering in of people of all nations.


A more significant emphasis is placed on the fact that the disciples’ net didn’t break, despite the large size of the catch. By including this detail, John was perhaps illustrating the fact that despite the diversity and the multitude of followers, the Christian community need not be torn by division. This is a significant promise to hold on to, especially in the face of the Church’s turbulent history.


This miracle story also has something to say about the commission of Jesus’ followers to preach the gospel. Peter and the other disciples must have been terrified by Jesus’ command to build the Church. We can imagine them going out to fish in their restlessness – falling back on something they knew well how to do. But consider what the historical and spiritual implications would have been, had they spent the rest of their lives trying to catch fish instead of people.


Something of the inspiring apparition and re-assuring presence of the person of Jesus, however, launched them on their apostolic mission. Over the next 30 years (as described in the Acts), we never again hear of the apostles going out to fish in the Sea of Galilee. For, they were too busy bringing the gospel to the world. This is an important message for us as heirs to that faith in Christ. The life of Jesus in us shall not remain just a personal and interior thing. It must well up within us and must be expressed to others.


Obedience to the word of Jesus led Peter and the other disciples to something extra-ordinary in their life – the miraculous catch. It is the same with us When we lose hope all that we need to do is surrender to the will of God and allow him to work through us, just as he was able to with Peter and other disciples.


In the second part of today’s gospel (Jn 21: 15-19), once again Peter stands warming himself by a charcoal fire. The last time, we saw him in this position, he three times denied knowing Jesus.( (Jn 18: 17, 25, 27). In this sense Jesus confronted him three times: Do you love me? (21: 15, 16, 17). Still remembering the pain of his earlier denial, Peter answered “yes” each time. But Jesus did more than just re-instate this humbled apostle. ; He charged him to “Feed my sheet.”What did Jesus see in Peter that he confidently entrusted the future life and ministry of his Church to him?


It was not Peter’ wisdom that enabled him to care for Christ’s followers as himself might. It was not pastoral gifts (though these gifts can be important) or Peter’s leadership qualities that prompted Jesus to say, “Feed my sheep”. No. the single quality that enabled Peter to care for Christ’s followers was his love for Jesus... “Lord, you know that I love you (Jn 21; 16). Andrew Murray a pastor and prolific writer in South Africa during the 19th century pondered the meaning of these three words “Feed my sheep”. Below is a summary of his insights:


“To feed is to give others what will help them grow. Every Christian must consider how to help others to grow. How can we explain Jesus words so that they might understand them .How can we nurture a desire in them to turn to God. ?  The word “my” means that these sheep belong to Jesus. The work we do in caring for the Master’s sheep involves hard work and initiative. But we must always remember that we nurture them for the Lord, not for the fulfillment of our own desires. They belong to him. And what are sheep? Sheep depend upon their shepherds to create an environment that is safe, healthy and good for their growth. A precious lot are weak and in constant need of care. In a similar way all Christians are in one way or another sheep in need of care. We have a responsibility to care for them with the food Jesus gives.


Dr. Louis Malieckal CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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