3rd Sunday of Easter

John 21:1-19

Peter do you love meThe Gospel Reading of this Third Sunday of Easter is packed full of activity and must surely give us some idea of the amazement, excitement and wonder that the disciples of Jesus felt after His Resurrection from the dead.

The disciples were trying to get back to some sort of normal living after the events of Holy Week.  It was a week when all their dreams seem to have been shattered.  They had ‘left everything and followed’ Him, they had seen the signs and miracles that He worked, they had suffered some of the scorn that He had to endure.  Was it all in vain or was there any truth in the rumours of Him being alive?

“It was light by now”; even in the daylight the disciples failed to recognise Him.  They had been told that He would walk among them again but they were so caught up in the cares of life and the sadness after His death that they were not in the proper state of mind to see the wonder before them.  They had gone back to their familiar daily routine of work and the memory of the times with Jesus might even have been failing.  When Jesus joins them He again uses many signs and images to help them understand His new life and mission.

There were one hundred and fifty-three fish” (commentators say that this is a reference to the number of species of fish known at the time) indicating that the mission of the Church would be to all nations.  “The net was not broken” – a sign of unity in a community of diverse cultures and races.  Jesus shares a meal with the disciples – a sign of sharing with one another what God gives (bread) and the fruits of labour (fish).  ”He took the bread and gave it to them” – an echo of the Eucharistic meal which He had shared with them before His death.

Peter is again very much to the fore in this Gospel episode.  He is the one who had denied the Lord three times.  Now he is seen to be trying to undo the denials by his three affirmations of his love for the Lord.  The Lord’s forgiveness is boundless.  Though Peter, like all of us, is unworthy of the Lord’s love, it is given to him and his sins do not stop him from being given the special pastoral responsibility for the new Church.

Many aspects of these post-Resurrection scenes can be reflected and recognised in our own lives.  The Lord is constantly putting people and events into our life’s path.  These people and events speak to us off His glorified life.  At this time of Eastertide we pray that we will be able to come into the light of the new day dawning on us and in that light be able to see the signs of the Lord’s presence around us.