Today's Gospel Reflection from Leo
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.
The gospel readings during the Octave of Easter are from all four evangelists, who tell us of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples after his resurrection. Today’s gospel, from the evangelist, John, relates Jesus’ third and final appearance to the disciples which is documented in this book; the appearance to Mary Magdalene would make it the fourth, however. The setting is Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee.
When I read this gospel, I can almost hear Peter saying “I am going fishing.” As I envision it, Peter has just about given up on Jesus, and is looking to return to fishing, his former livelihood. Perhaps he was expecting great things to happen after Jesus’ appearances in the upper room in Jerusalem. Maybe he was tired of waiting around to see what the future would bring. And so, he left town and headed for Galilee.
How often do we find ourselves in this situation? Waiting for something new or fresh to happen in our lives. Waiting on Jesus to come to us, bringing all that we need. I know that I can relate to this as I face an uncertain future, post-graduation. Will I need, or want to return to social work, my former profession, or will I be able to employed in parish ministry, as I had hoped? However, my personal concern pales in the face of the current pandemic, with its intensity and its uncertainty, a situation to which we can all relate.
Peter and the other disciples experienced Jesus’ risen presence in the midst of their woes. He caused them to have a miraculous catch of fish and even cooked them breakfast. Peter did not wait in vain, and neither do we. Jesus, the risen one, is with us. “Blessed are those who believe but who have not yet seen”. That’s us!