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.” JN 21:1-19
“This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples” – states the author St. John. We could be a bit surprised by this statement. After all Jesus had not only appeared the last two ‘Sundays’, first to ten apostles in the absence of Thomas and then to eleven of them. He also appeared to Maria Magdolna, Peter and to two disciples on the way to Emmaus. The emphasis is on the pronoun ‘them’ indicating that he appeared to them as a community. And it is good to note that the community is together even if one member is not present. Furthermore, every meeting has a different value and meaning. The same is true for our lives.
First occasions receive a special place in our memory and our awareness. We take many millions of steps during our lifetime, but the first one is celebrated by the whole family. We utter millions of words, but the parents are delighted when we first say the word „mama”. The first kiss remains unforgettable, the first school day, the first day at work and so many other „firsts”. The event of catching the fish and the meal together that John describes is also the „first” as much as it is the first meal together after the resurrection. It is a fitting counterpart to the last supper. The point of reference is the Resurrection. It changes everything. In order to see this, we must look with the eyes of faith. Just like John, who recognises the Lord straight away, even before Peter. Not by the power of the office but because of his love. Yet, the Lord trusted the flock into the care of Peter. The precondition for the feeding of the sheep is love. Jesus makes Peter confirm these three times. Moreover, He asks whether Peter loves Him more than „those” including John. There is no defect in John’s feelings, but the Lord had not intended him to be the first of the leaders. Therefore, he stands down and accepts the will of the Lord with humility. His love is obedience.
Third Sunday of Easter – Year C 05.05.2019
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