April 14, 2013

The Gospel for Today

Third Sunday of Easter

Jn. 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Arnel Calata Jr.)

We are now in the Third Sunday of Easter and today’s Gospel narrative tells us about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples “by the sea of Tiberias” after his resurrection. It recounts the miraculous catch of fish as Jesus instructs them to “cast the net on the right side of the boat.” This episode is reminiscent of the first miraculous catch of fish where Jesus made Peter fisher of men (cf. Lk 5:1-11). It is very interesting to note the events which lead to the confirmation of Peter’s primacy and his mission to be the visible head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ here on earth.

Peter was chosen by Jesus to lead the Church not because he is the greatest among the Apostles or that he is the closest to Jesus. In fact, we can recall the episode where Peter denied Jesus three times and this happened after his promise to Jesus – “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” (Mk 14:27-31). Peter is also weak and vulnerable like many of us. But in his weakness, he was still chosen by Jesus to lead His Church.We are now in the Third Sunday of Easter and today’s Gospel narrative tells us about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples “by the sea of Tiberias” after his resurrection. It recounts the miraculous catch of fish as Jesus instructs them to “cast the net on the right side of the boat.” This episode is reminiscent of the first miraculous catch of fish where Jesus made Peter fisher of men (cf. Lk 5:1-11). It is very interesting to note the events which lead to the confirmation of Peter’s primacy and his mission to be the visible head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ here on earth.

The Fathers of the Church interpreted this episode of the Gospel. The boat symbolizes the Church, whose unity is symbolized by the net which is not torn. The sea is the world and Peter who is in the boat stands for supreme authority in the Church. Thus, we Catholics, as part of our profession of faith, adhere to the primacy of Peter and his successors, not because the Church chose to, but it was Jesus Himself who chose Him for us. We should always remember that by virtue of primacy, Peter, and each of his successors, is the shepherd of the whole Church. His primary task is to guard and protect the “net”, the unity of the Church. He is also the Vicar of Christ on earth as he exercises vicariously Christ’s own authority. Let us then pray for the new successor of Peter as he continues to minister to the universal Church remembering that behind the primacy of office that he possesses lies the primacy of the One who called him.


 

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