The Gospel according to John (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.
Reflection: Every fisherman would love to have the experience that Jesus offered the Apostles in the gospel for today. The Apostles were fishing all night and caught nothing. Then, in the morning, Jesus appeared on the shore but they didn’t realize it was Him. He gave them a simple command to cast their net off the right side of the boat. And they caught so many fish they could not pull them in. What an exciting catch!
This catch of fish was much more than just a favor from Jesus to help them with their work. It was highly symbolic. The central symbolism is that Jesus was giving the Apostles a new calling. They would no longer be fishing just for fish, rather, they were now to fish for souls. And the important part is that if they attempted to do this by their own efforts, they would come up empty handed. If, however, they did it at the Lord’s command, in His way, within His timing, then their efforts would provide an abundance of good fruit. More than they could ever imagine!
This miracle of Jesus begins to reveal to the Apostles (and to us) the command that comes to evangelize the world. This revelation comes after His Resurrection as Jesus gives His final instructions to the Apostles to carry out His mission of salvation. We should see in this miracle our own call to spread the Good News. And we must see in this miracle the command to spread the Good News only at the command of Jesus, in His way and within His timing.
Sometimes Christians tend to come up with many “good” ideas to spread the Gospel. But the key is to humble ourselves before God and realize that we are incapable of spreading the Good News of the Gospel unless the Lord is leading the way and giving the direction. This tells us we should wait on Him and let Him speak. We must listen to His voice and respond only when He leads. Evangelization is a response to Jesus rather than something we do by our own effort. This is the central message of this miraculous event.
As we continue our Easter Day celebration, it is a good time for each of us to reflect upon our own responsibility to evangelize. We all have a calling to share in this work of Jesus. It will take on different forms for each of us according to our vocation and mission. But the real question is this: “Am I responding to the call from Jesus to evangelize in the way He is directing me?” This is an important question. We should know that the particular mission Jesus gives us is not entrusted to anyone else. And He does want to use us.
Action: Lord, today by your grace I will exercise my trust in you by letting someone around me take initiative and have control over what I’m trying to accomplish.