3rd Sunday of Easter: John 21:1-19
In today’s Gospel, we heard that the disciples were fishing the whole night but they caught nothing. In their disappointment, failure, and emptiness, Jesus appeared to them and called out: “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” In this loving call from Jesus, the disciples felt there was a sense of intimacy and trust with Jesus; also, the disciples felt the Father’s tender love and mercy. The disciples directly and honestly responded to Jesus: “No, we did not get anything.”
Jesus told them: “Cast your nets on the right side of the boat.” Even though Peter and his companions were very expert at fishing, instead of trusting only in their own abilities, successes, and achievements, they listened to Jesus and they caught the number of fish. When the disciples got to the shore, Jesus again said,” Bring some of the fish you have just caught and come, have breakfast,” which means: to bring something of yourself. Jesus wanted to share His life and relationship with them.
We can relate to this story in our lives, too. Sometimes, I feel that my best efforts and hard works came up empty and I feel discouraged. I have worked hard to have a happy family, a good marriage, tried to be a good parent, tried to be a good friend, and tried to stay healthy. Also, I have felt that I cannot escape from my own bad habits and addictions or destructive attitudes.
Yet, Jesus comes to us when the nets of our lives are empty and all seems lost and fruitless. Jesus comes to us wherever we are in a boat, at work, at home, at school. Jesus come to our lives and asks, “Have you caught any fish? Have you had any success? If our reply is: “No,” then Jesus lovingly commands us and challenges us: “Throw out your net on the right side… and do it, just do it differently and not your way but the way Jesus expects. So, the nets of our lives will fill up with the love, the joy, the peace, and the happiness we long for.”
Even though the disciples did not recognize Jesus at first, however, the disciples gradually recognized Jesus when Jesus invited them to share the bread of life with them and then they received a special grace to realize that Jesus was with them. Faith gave Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the other disciples the ability to see what was hidden. Faith opened their inner eyes, which were blinded by fear and disappointments. They came to recognize Jesus’ voice and see His glory. Faith gives the ability to see the mysterious, the mystical.
The disciples were going back to their old ways of living after their master had died. It was a kind of “break away” time and a kind of “break away” from the church. Sometimes in our own human nature, we too feel that I do not want to practice faith and I want to leave from the church, especially when I hear about the church scandals and the church leaders and their sinful actions. One thing is sure: God will be there for us in our times of frustration and feeling hopeless. Our faith is in Jesus and His church not in a particular human person. Never give up our faith, especially during this crisis and challenging time in the church we should move closer to the church.
We should ask: “Like Peter, am I willing to throw my net into deep water? Am I willing to deepen my relationships with my family and friends – no matter what the costs are?” If we have to leave our favorite boats or nets, let us do so today and jump into the waters of God’s mercy. The risen Christ is waiting for you and me to celebrate us with His love and compassion!