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Friday in the Octave of Easter
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, in my journey with you, I am longing to grasp the mystery of your Resurrection as I let you speak to me through this word that I read in your Gospel. So I ask you to speak to me today. Let me receive the gifts that your Resurrection brings, the same gifts you offered to these men fishing on the Sea of Galilee after you had conquered death and risen from the dead. I know there is much mystery surrounding your appearances after your Resurrection, but I am not afraid to embrace the mystery, to strive to penetrate it, and to let it teach me.
- Déjà Vu: The disciples had seen Christ firsthand after his Resurrection, but many things had changed about their encounters. Now, he appeared to them at certain moments and then disappeared again. They used to be able to seek him out and find him praying alone, but now they only saw him when he chose to appear to them. They found themselves in a holding pattern of sorts—still learning from Christ and not yet commissioned to broadly preach and travel. Certainly, they talked among themselves about all that was happening, but they were probably confused as they tried to unravel the mystery of the past weeks and months. In the midst of this, Peter decided to go back to a familiar task—fishing. Perhaps for Peter it was a way to find space to think, a safe place to talk at ease with the others. Whatever the reason, the disciples unwittingly set themselves up for a disappointment they had experienced before. They didn’t catch a thing! Did they become disgruntled or complain? We can only guess at their mood as we hear Jesus address them lovingly from the shore, “Children….”
- Try the Other Side: Jesus recognized that these fishermen had caught nothing and offered them a simple solution. He asked them to do once more what they had been doing all night long—to cast their nets on the other side. We can do any task repeatedly and often bear some fruit. But when Jesus commands it, then our efforts produce much more than we expect. He wants us to trust him, to believe in him, and to take risks when he asks us to, knowing that we do nothing alone. Jesus, Emanuel, is always with us.
- Bring Some of Your Fish: Jesus had prepared a breakfast for them, but he left room for the ingredient they themselves were supposed to provide. There is much symbolism in this brief moment of the story. Jesus chose not to make everything for them. He chose instead to let them be involved, to some degree, in providing for themselves. We see the same thing in some of Jesus’ other miracles, like the multiplication of loaves and fishes (Matthew 14). Jesus wants us to collaborate with him. Where can we learn to let Christ work by our side? Where can we move over to make space for him in our work?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am like the disciples, tired of working alone and not seeing fruits. I see you calling me to have more trust in you and to let you tell me what to do and how to do it. So often it is easy for me to try to control everything in my life instead of letting you lead. Help me to “let go and let God!”
Resolution: 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.
For Further Reflection: Luke 5:1-11.
Fr. Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and worked for three years as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. Now he resides in Oakville, Ontario, serving youth and young adults.