Gospel Reflection May 1 – Deacon Frank

Sunday, May 1

Third Sunday of Easter

John 21: 1-19


At that time, 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.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Gospel Reflection:

This Sunday we hear the final chapter of John’s gospel. This last chapter seems to be trying to sort out some unfinished business, namely the denial of Jesus by Peter. It is the story of Peter’s reconciliation.

It has three parts:

1.) Peter returns unsuccessfully to fishing until Jesus appears and advises the fishermen what to do.
2.) Jesus then gently challenges Peter and finally foretells what Peter’s end will be.
3.) Jesus’ final words take us back to Peter’s original calling. They are very simple: “Follow me.”

If the resurrection stories in general offer a summary of the gospel message, these three sections remind us of three significant truths:

1.) Peter attempts to return to his old profession, but, without the presence of Jesus, even here he is unsuccessful.
2.) Once Jesus appears on the scene the situation is transformed.
3.) We are reminded of similar stories in the gospels where Jesus springs abundance; he is an overflowing source of nourishment and goodness.

We may apply the threefold message to ourselves:

1.) We will get nowhere by ourselves. We need the presence of Christ and his love to touch our hearts and enrich us through our faith and prayer, through the sacraments and through the love we receive from our fellow Christians.
2.) Our response, our love for Christ is, however, only seen and given shape in our love for others, especially those in need. To do this we have to overcome our own selfishness and fears that push us to close ourselves down and not be opened to the world beyond us.
3.) It is this sense of welcoming the challenge of the world that lies beyond us that will not only give us a share in the calling of the risen Lord. It will also help us deal with whatever life may demand of us in carrying out our response to the challenge.

This will be our answer to the same question Jesus asked of us: “Do you love me?” – and also, to Jesus’ final instruction: “Follow me.”

Deacon Frank Iannarino