Pastor’s Daily Reflection – Easter Friday: 4/17/20

John 21:1-14

1After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Here we have another instance when Jesus appears to his disciples during their daily lives.  Of course, when Peter says, “I’m going fishing,” he is not talking about recreational fishing. He is saying, “I’m going to work,” and the others join him.  That was their livelihood. It was hard, laborious work that was done at night. Here we found the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius, which means they have done what Jesus had told them to do. Their gathering shows that there was a close fraternity among them. Peter took the initiative in the meeting, which, in a way, shows his authority.  They had indeed gone back to their new jobs, where they were awaiting further instructions.

This episode is reminiscent of their first catch of fish with Jesus (Luke 5:1 – 11) where Jesus promised Peter he would make him a fisher of men. Now he is going to confirm Peter in his mission as the visible head of the church.  So begins the next step of their discipleship where they learn to be fishers of men and women. It’s like a baby taking his very first step on his own: a lot of work has gone on leading up to that moment. That first step follows a year of strengthening muscles, mental development, coordinating different parts of the body.  

Jesus is just now preparing Peter and the other disciples to take their first steps in leading the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  They spent two or three years of Jesus’ public ministry learning to see, to move, crawl and pull themselves up. Now comes their time to walk and to follow Jesus in every aspect of their lives. We, too, live in uncertain times.  We can trust that they learned their lessons well, and we also must learn to follow where they have to lead the way. That way, those following us will be lead to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.