SUNDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Ps 30:2,4-6,11-13; Rv 5:11-14; Jn 21: 1-19
BEAR WITNESS TO “HIS NAME”
From the very beginning, the Christian community faced opposition of the spiritual leaders of Israel. These were the ones who had Jesus of Nazareth condemned and killed by the Roman authorities, with the accusation that he was a blasphemer who had refused to observe their norms and live according to their customs. After the death of their Master, the disciples had begun a new way of life according to the gospels. Hence, the leaders and the elders arrested the apostles demanding an explanation for their behaviour.
The high priest reminded them that he had ordered them not to preach in “this name” and reproached them fixing the guilt of “this man’s” death on them – they did not even want to pronounce the name of Jesus. Christ was a reproach to those holding political and religious power. The apostles were troublemakers in the eyes of the authorities and therefore they were persecuted. Even today, some leaders issue morally unacceptable orders. How do we respond to this situation?
In the second reading, we find an immense number of angels singing in chorus the praises of God in heaven, singing of the victory won by Christ through his death and resurrection, singing of the power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing that belong to the Risen Lord. The song of the entire creation signifies that all creatures are finally freed from the bondage of sin. When people make use of creatures to commit sin they become slaves and do not serve the purpose for which God has created them. The sacrifice of the Lamb has transformed the heart of man; redemption has finally been won for all peoples, and they can join in the song of praise with the hosts of heaven.
In the Gospel, Peter decides to go back to his old profession of fishing and the others join him. The key point is that they were ‘gathered together’. The gospel specifically says that it was night and they had caught nothing. Why? Were they not professional fishermen? Yes indeed. Then what could have been the reason? They had thought that Jesus had abandoned them and left them alone amid the dangers and difficulties of their lives. They counted on their own strength and ability. Jesus had already told them; “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
How often do we not resemble the disciples in our daily living? We busy ourselves preparing, planning for the future of our children, for our ministry and apostolate, spending our time and energy and exerting ourselves, forgetting that we are only instruments in God’s hands. The reason why we fail so often is that we do not seek the guidance of the Risen Lord.
When the apostles heard the voice of the Lord and followed his suggestion, manifesting their trust in him once again, they witnessed a miraculous catch against all human reasoning. Will it not happen to us too, if we listen and adhere to the voice of our divine Saviour? Jesus said to the apostles; “come and have breakfast”. Let us admire the goodness and the condescension of Jesus towards his disciples. He knew the fatigue and tiredness of his disciples after a night of hard work, and with a parent’s love, prepared food for them. It is an invitation for us to foresee the needs of others and thereby reflect the love of God in caring for them.
Today we also remember Saint Joseph the Worker (we don’t celebrate the liturgy this year), a tender father to Jesus and a loving husband to Mary. He lived his life in complete selflessness; kept nothing for himself; let go of all his plans and dreams when he realized that God desired something different from him; he gave himself to that plan without any reservations or restrictions. It is the fiat of Joseph, which he said at every moment, that reflects the beauty of his soul. God became a part of his family, and he became not so much a father, but like a child dependent and obedient to God the Father. Let us imbibe his spirit of humility in letting God live in and through us. May the example of Saint Joseph inspire us to live as he lived.
Response: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
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