May 1, 2022
John 21: 1-19
For the Disciples the time after the Resurrection must have been like no other. Traumatised by recent events they were living in a world of disbelief, emptiness and the unknown.
Having decided to anchor themselves in some sort of normality, they go fishing, but that doesn’t work out either. As an unknown stranger on the shore gives advice they cast their nets again, with immediate success. Was it something in the ‘voice’ the ‘manner’ that touched the soul of ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved?’ Recognition dawns, and the joyful cry, ‘It is the Lord.’
‘This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples.’ Doesn’t it seem strange that the man they had spent so much time with, over recent years, the man with whom they had developed such close relationships, this same man is now unfamiliar to them? ‘This was not the old ways come again.’ This was not the Jesus they had known and loved. This was the Risen Lord. The past is to be left behind, the new welcomed. As they opened themselves to this new reality what was the talk among themselves, what was the mood? Peter, especially, could never have imagined that after his denial of Jesus, things would ever be the same again. But, in view of earlier transgression there were no recriminations, no talk of needed forgiveness, just expressions of love.
So often we think we recognise Jesus in our lives and indeed we do, but as we sit on the seashore sharing the breakfast he has prepared, he invites us, like Peter, to a new way of being. He invites me to a place deep within, a place I have never been before – that ‘no place’ where he dwells. At that still point, I am, what is.
For the past two years, Covid has kept us on stormy seas, but as things begin to ease in some respects, the trauma and grief linger on. Life will never be the same again, but we cannot go back. Perhaps it is from a place of great emptiness that this call to deeper intimacy is most often felt.
‘Now is the time: now is the acceptable time’ The call is ongoing The Lord still waits on the seashore to provide nourishment and support, as I open myself to the unknown. I am drawn ever deeper into mystery – a journey, not of the mind, but an undefined movement of the spirit beyond thought or reason.
Jesus says to me today “Do you love me? “If my response is, “Yes, Lord you know everything; you know I love you,” there are going to be implications. Am I ready, with an open heart, to accept these implications?
“The spirit stands on the lip of time
And beckons us to leave our past
And seek the future that’s within”
P. Purnell SJ
“Now is the time; now is the acceptable time.”
Where do I go from here?
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.