1) Opening prayer
Our God and Father,
through our risen Lord, your Son Jesus Christ,
you have given us a message of hope
and a person to live for.Free our faith from triviality and routine
and fill us with his Spirit of courage,
that we may learn to live
with the insecurities of the change of renewal
ever-demanded by the gospel
and by the needs of the times.
May our Christian living bear witness
to the name of him by whom we are saved,
Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 21, 1-14
Later on, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.' They replied, 'We'll come with you.' They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night. When it was already light, there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, 'Haven't you caught anything, friends?' And when they answered, 'No,' he said, 'Throw the net out to starboard and you'll find something.' So they threw the net out and could not haul it in because of the quantity of fish.
The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord.' At these words, 'It is the Lord,' Simon Peter tied his outer garment round him (for he had nothing on) and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net with the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.' Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net ashore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, 'Who are you?'. They knew quite well it was the Lord.
Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus revealed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
• Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Saint John seems like an appendix which was added later after the Gospel had already been written. The conclusion of the previous chapter (Jn 20, 30-31) makes one perceive that it is an addition. However, whether it is an addition or not, it is the Word of God which presents us the beautiful message of the Resurrection on this fifth day of Easter week.
• John 21, 1-3: The fisherman of men returns to be a fisherman of fish. Jesus has died and has risen. At the end of three years of life together with Jesus, the disciples returned toward Galilee. A group of them find themselves together before the lake. Peter goes back to the past and says: “I am going fishing!” The others answer: “We will come with you!” Thus, Thomas, Nathanael, John and James together with Peter go to the boat to go fishing. They go back to the life of the past as if nothing had happened. But something did happen. Something was taking place! The past did not return! “We have caught nothing!” They go back to the shore, tired. This had been a night filled with frustration.
• John 21, 4-5: The context of the new apparition of Jesus. Jesus was on the shore, but they did not recognize him. Jesus asks: “Little children, have you anything to eat?” They answered: “No!” In the negative response they realize that the night had been deceiving because they had caught nothing, no fish. They had been called to be fishermen of men (Mk 1, 17; Lk 5, 10), and they go back to be fishermen of fish. But something had changed in their life! The experience of three years with Jesus produces in them an irreversible change. It was no longer possible to return to the past as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had changed.
• John 21, 6-8: “Throw the net out to the right of the boat and you will find something” They did something which perhaps they had never done in their life. Five experienced fishermen obey a foreigner who orders them to do something which is in contrast to their experience. Jesus, that unknown person, who is on the shore, orders them to throw the net on the right side of the boat. They obey; they throw the net, and behold the unexpected result. The net was full of fish! How was this possible! How to explain this surprise so unexpected, unforeseen! Love makes one discover. The beloved disciple says: “It is the Lord”. This intuition clarifies everything. Peter jumped into the water to get close to Jesus very quickly. The other disciples follow him, pulling the boat, and dragging the net full of fish.
• John 21, 9-14: The kindness of Jesus. Coming ashore, they saw a charcoal fire which had been lit by Jesus, where he was roasting fish and bread. He asked them to take some of the fish they had caught and immediately Peter went to the boat and towed the net containing one hundred and fifty fish. A great number of fish and the net did not break. Jesus calls the multitude: “Come and eat!” He had the kindness to prepare something to eat after a deceiving night during which they had caught nothing. A very simple gesture which reveals something of God’s love for us. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14, 9). None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, Who are you, because they knew he was the Lord. And recalling the Eucharist, John, the Evangelist contemplates: “Jesus stepping forward took the bread and gave it to them”. Thus, he suggests that the Eucharist is the privileged place for the encounter with the Risen Jesus.
4) Personal questions
• Has it ever happened to you that someone has told you to throw the net to the right side of your life, to do something contrary to your experience? Have you obeyed? Have you thrown in the net?
• The kindness of Jesus. How is your kindness in the small things of life?
5) Concluding Prayer
Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good,
for his faithful love endures for ever.
Let those who fear Yahweh say,
'His faithful love endures for ever.' (Ps 118)