Homily for the third Easter Sunday - Year C - Jn. 21, 1-19
 
 
by
 
Father Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
"After 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. Jesus said to them, « Bring some of the fish that you have just caught. » 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. 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. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was 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? » He said to him, « Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. » He said to him, « Feed my lambs. » A second time he said to him, « Simon, son of John, do you love me? » He said to him, « Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. » He said to him, « Tend my sheep. » He said to him the third time, « Simon, son of John, do you love me? » Peter was grieved because he said to him the 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. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go. » This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God."
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
"After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way."
 
Between his resurrection and his ascension into Heaven, Jesus appeared several times to his disciples. The today's gospel relates to us the apparition of Jesus which took place by the Lake of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee. The resurrected Jesus possesses a glorious body, that is to say a body whose properties surpass those of ordinary bodies. So the body of Jesus can be either visible or invisible, depending on what he decides to do: whether he decides to make his body visible or invisible. When Jesus decides to make his body visible and to be present where his disciples are, then Jesus appears!
 
"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! »"
 
An apparition of the Lord is an event that surprises and astonishes. When we are immersed in physical tasks, as were the Apostles when they were fishing - and they were, in addition, full of disappointment because they had not caught any fish - on those occasions, we have a lot of trouble believing in the invisible realities, which are nonetheless very real. In order that we begin to ask ourselves whether something out of the ordinary has just happened, it is necessary that the person who appears manifests the reality of his sublime state with a supernatural deed that takes hold of the deepest part of ourself. So, it was necessary that Jesus produced a miracle, that of the miraculous catch of fish, in order that the Apostles recognize him: "That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, « It is the Lord! »"
 
"Jesus said to them, « Bring some of the fish that you have just caught. » 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."
 
Why does Saint John speak of the net that was not torn? This fact is not without importance, since the Fathers of the Church spoke of it when they comment on the miraculous catch of fish which took place before the resurrection (cf. Lk. 5:1-11), noting that, at that time, "their nets were breaking" (Lk. 5:6), while, after the resurrection, the net was not broken, even though there were so many fish! Jesus had said to Peter: "Henceforth you will be catching men" (Lk. 5:10), meaning that the fishes were the sign of the men whom Peter was going to bring to God through his preaching and through all of his ministry in following Christ. If the fishes are the sign of men, then the net that is not broken is the sign of the unity of Christians under the guidance of the one Shepherd, Christ, represented on earth by the Pope, the successor of Peter. Let us then understand this sign: the apparition of Christ to his disciples is announced by the union of Christians with each other! Did not Jesus say: "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:20)?
 
"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, « Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? » He said to him, « Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. » He said to him, « Feed my lambs. »"
 
The confession of love of Saint Peter, a confession that gives to the Apostle's confession of faith its form and definitive character (cf. Mt. 16:16), serves to make the sign of the miraculous catch of fish more explicit. Peter is truly the supreme Shepherd whom Jesus chose for his Church: there are no others! If all Christians are united amongst themselves, how could there exist another Shepherd than Christ himself, present in his Church through Peter's ministry of love? If Peter loves Jesus, then they are but one between them, and there is only one Shepherd: Christ in Peter for the whole Church!
 
Let us love Jesus with all our heart! Let us receive him today in the sacrament of the Eucharist! It is the sacrament of love par excellence! Let us ask Mary to help us love Jesus above all!
 

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