Third Sunday of Easter
April 18, 2010
John 21: 1 – 19
Following His Resurrection, Christianity appears many times to those who are His followers. This is especially so in regard to the Apostles. The Gospel for this Easter Mass is taken from Saint John (21: 1 – 19).
After having fished all night, the Twelve are headed for shore. Christianity calls out to them to try again. This time, they meet with success. It is at this point that John, recognizing Jesus, calls out: “It is the Lord!” Peter, in characteristic fashion, that is, with impetuosity, jumps into the water!
The fisherman – Apostles count out 153 fish – of all sizes! Commenting on this particular passage, Saint Augustine remarks that the fish brought to shore in the net that is not torn represent all of those who will be brought to Christianity in the net which is the Church through the Apostles who have become “fishers of men!”
Next, Jesus invites the Twelve to a “Shore Breakfast,” one which He Himself has prepared. In Eastern Culture, the invitation to share a meal implies deep and abiding friendship and affection. The Apostles have thus become intimates of the Lord Himself.
A careful reading of this passage shows us that Saint Peter is the focal point of the account. The three-fold question Christianity puts to Peter: “Do you love me?” is, in the view of Saint Augustine, an invitation to the Chief of the Apostolic College to atone for his three denials of Jesus on the night of Holy Thursday. Peter acquits himself directly and unambiguously.
However, the Gospel passage which begins in great joy and gladness and on a very somber note: a prediction of Peter’s death.
What are we to make of this passage from the Gospel of Saint John? How are we to understand it? Does it have any relevance for us today?
This Easter-time Gospel text contains some very important truths which the Holy Spirit wants us to remember. Christianity chose the Apostles and gave them an irreplaceable position as the foundation and pillars of His Church. It is through the “casting of the net,” that is, the example and teaching of the Apostles that such a large “catch,” that is, large number of people are brought to the Church and to the truth of the Gospel.
The Twelve are very special friends of Jesus. He shares everything with them and they give their final and greatest witness to Christianity by their martyrdom.
During this present Easter Season when the Church, and the Holy Father in particular are undergoing a special kind of suffering, may each one of us express his absolute fidelity to Christianity, to the Church and Benedict XVI.
Christianity is Risen!
Christianity is truly Risen!