3rd Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:27-32, 40-41
The Gospel this weekend is this:
After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. 2 Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples.
3 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. 4 When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." 11 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. 12 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. 13 Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. 15 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." 16 He then said to him a second time, "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." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he 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. 18 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."
19 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 first reading is this:
Acts 5:27-32, 40-41
When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, 28 "We gave you strict orders (did we not?) to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us." 29 But Peter and the apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him."
33 When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
34 * But a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the men to be put outside for a short time, 35 and said to them, "Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. 36 Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. 37 After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. 38 So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. 39 But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God." They were persuaded by him. 40 After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. 41 So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
The second reading is this:
I looked again and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, 12 and they cried out in a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing." 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: "To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever." 14 The four living creatures answered, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
This Sunday is the third of Easter. The Gospel is of the resurrected Jesus appearing again to his fisherman disciples. Since it seemed to them that Jesus was dead and that their adventurous new life had been a failure on Calvary, they decided to go back fishing onLake Tiberius. That turns out to be a failure! Jesus meets them on the shore and asks Peter three times if his love is 'for real'. That's a friendly way of recalling Peter's three denials on Good Friday (Jn 18). But God is full of mercy, and the lads can begin again. So Jesus resolves their fishing-failure. He suggests that they cast the nets out 'on the other side'. I think it symbolises the way we should be open to changes in our lives. It's like his initial call in Luke 5 where He proposes that they go out deeper in the lake of Gennesaret. Following Christ brings challenges!
I'm very grateful for the call to 'change my nets' years ago. I switched from physical doctoring to a spiritual one. I'm very glad that I did. The first one to get somewhat healed was me! But I still feel like I'm just beginning! The M.S. isn’t a big problem. Maybe it’s just like the way Jesus gets the lads today to change the nets to the other side! Christ doesn't launch himself into our 'boats' but waits 'on the shore'. Might he be waiting for you? A change of nets may be a change of your plans in life. I try to be poor, chaste and obedient (they're my religious vows), and the remarkable thing is that the more I live them, the more I feel truly rich, enjoying true love and in control of my own volatile self!
In the first reading today, the Apostles had to deal with arrest and derision, but I actually like the way that following Christ isn't painted for us like a fantasy story where everything becomes easy. It brings challenges, and sometime even people's criticism, but that actually makes me trust much more in the call of Jesus. History tells us of problems even to the point of lion's teeth in the Coliseum inRome. Some of the lion's teeth with which I have to deal are those of my own selfishness, and being a faithful Christian brings challenges to us all, but the marvel is that somehow Christ 'protects us'. It's probably of little relevance to you, but somehow my M.S. doesn't depress me at all. I'm bloody happy!
The call to me this Sunday is to renew my decision to follow Jesus. He knows what he's doing! But what would 'pushing out deeper' mean for you? Would it mean shaking off some of the riches, honours and pleasures of this world? The answer may be lifelong or it may change from day to day, so that's why it's good to pray every day! It's not a matter of reciting things to God, but of discovering what God is trying to say to us!
By the way, we don't have a clear explanation for the fact that they catch 153 fish today. (If you add one to another the numbers 1 to 17, they actually total 153. What a useless piece of information that is!). It may be referring to the approximate number of nations that were known back then. I read it simply as a way of saying that the Good News of Christ will bear fruit throughout the whole world. Maybe I should be learning Chinese! And they catch 'large fish today', so maybe I should nip over to call on those 1.3 billion brothers and sisters in China! And, of course, we're not called to 'fish' by some manipulation or brain-washing, but by truly loving.
Also, by the way, I think the four ‘living creatures’ in the vision of the second reading represent the four Evangelists (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John). So it's a simple confirmation for us of the fact that those four are our principal windows to God.
This Gospel of the fishing failure and of Jesus completely renewing his call to Peter and Co. is also telling us how, once we've confessed a sin properly, then the problem is 'turfed out the window'. We simply begin completely anew. The priest himself should completely forget what sins were committed. This reminds me of the Orsen Wells film 'The Third Man' where a priest had to actually risk legal prosecution because he kept his mouth shut after a killer confessed. Of course the priest tries to get the killer to own up to the law himself. I've never heard the confession of a killer, but I must say that one of the advantages of M.S. is that it actually diminishes my memory which used to be good!
One thing that I did manage to hear, and that I'll never forget, is the Good News that Peter and Co. did manage to transmit. The angels in Apocalypse are singing 'Worthy is the Lamb to receive honour, glory, riches etc..'. And do you think that he's worthy to receive your life? I do! Fortunately Mary said yes! And Jesus doesn't impose, but waits on the shore!
It's good to help Peter in tending the sheep. I've no fishing net, but at least I have the 'inter-net'!
3° Domingo de Pascua: Hechos 5:27-32, 40-41. Apoc 5:11-14. Jn 21:1-19.
El Evangelio es de Jesús resucitado apareciendo otra vez a sus amigos pescadores. Dado que les parecía que Jesús estaba muerto y que la gozosa vida nueva había fracasado en el Calvario, decidieron volver a pescar en el Lago de Tiberiades. ¡Aquello acaba en fracaso! Pero se encuentran con Jesús que está en la orilla y que pregunta a Pedro tres veces si su amor es de verdad. Aquello es una forma amistosa de recordarle sus tres negaciones en el Viernes Santo. Pero Dios es totalmente misericordioso, y los chavales pueden empezar de nuevo. Jesús resuelve su fracaso en la pesca. Propone que echen las redes 'por el otro lado'. Esto me habla de cómo nos conviene estar abiertos a cambios en nuestras vidas. Refleja su primera llamada en Lucas 5 donde Jesús propone que vayan mar adentro en el lago de Genesaret. ¡Seguir a Cristo trae desafíos!
Estoy muy agradecido por la llamada a 'cambiar mis redes' hace años. Cambié desde el cuidado físico al cuidado espiritual. Me hace muy feliz. ¡El primero en ser un poco curado era yo! ¡Pero todavía me siento como si estuviera empezando! Cristo no se lanza en nuestras 'barcas' sino que espera 'en la orilla'. ¿Puede ser que te está esperando a ti? Un cambio de redes puede ser un cambio de tus planes en la vida. Yo intento ser pobre, casto y obediente (estos son los 'votos' religiosos), y lo impresionante es que cuanto más les vivo, ¡más me siento realmente rico, gozando del amor y en control de mi propio ser volátil!
En la primera lectura de hoy, los Apóstoles tienen que aguantar la oposición del Sanedrin, pero a mi me gusta que no se presenta el seguimiento de Cristo como una fantasía sin ningún problema. Trae desafíos e incluso humillaciones, pero esto me hace fiarme mucho más de la llamada de Jesús. La historia nos habla de problemas, aún hasta de los dientes de los leones en el Coliseo de Roma. Algunos de los dientes con los cuales me toca a mí enfrentarme son los de mi propio egoísmo, y seguir fielmente a Cristo nos trae desafíos a todos, pero la maravilla es que, de alguna forma, ¡Cristo nos protege! A lo mejor no tiene mucha relevancia para ti, pero por alguna razón, mi esclerosis múltiple no me deprime. ¡Estoy feliz como un niño en la playa!
Este Domingo me llama a renovar mi opción por seguir a Cristo. ¡Él sabe lo que hace! Pero ¿qué significaría para ti el 'bogar mar adentro'? ¿Significaría soltar algunas de las riquezas, placeres y honores de este mundo? La respuesta puede ser para la vida entera, o puede ser renovada cada día, ¡y por eso conviene la oración diaria! No es cuestión de simplemente rezar a Dios, sino de escuchar lo que Dios nos quiere decir!
Es un detalle, pero la Iglesia no tiene explicación clara del porqué del número 153 de peces hoy. (Si sumas uno al otro los números 1 hasta 17, el total es 153. ¡Vaya información inútil!). Puede ser una referencia aproximada del número de naciones que se conocían en aquel tiempo. Lo veo como una forma sencilla de decir que la Buena Nueva de Cristo está llamada a dar fruto por el mundo entero. ¡Quizás debería yo estar aprendiendo el Chino! Y cogen ‘peces grandes’ hoy, entonces quizá yo debería visitar a mis 1.3 billones de familiares en la China. Y, claro, no estamos llamados a pescar por manipulación ni por ‘comer cocos’, sino por amar de verdad.
Añado, que las cuatro criaturas en las visiones de la segunda lectúra representan a los cuatro Evangelistas (Mateo, Marcos, Lucas y Juan). Entonces, es una confirmación sencilla del hecho de que estos cuatro son nuestras ventanas principales para ver a Dios.
Este Evangelio de la pesca fallida y de la renovación de la llamada de Jesús a Pedro y Compañía, nos está hablando también de cómo un pecado bien confesado es echado ‘por la ventana’. Allí empieza una vida totalmente nueva. El sacerdote debería olvidar totalmente los pecados confesados. Me hace pensar en la película de Orson Wells ‘El Tercer Hombre’ en la cual un sacerdote arriesgó la vida porque no estaba dispuesto a contar los hechos a la policía después de la confesión de un asesino. Claro, el sacerdote intenta convencer al asesino de decirlo a la policía por su cuenta. Nunca he confesado a un asesino, pero añado que una de las ventajas de la esclerosis múltiple es que ha rebajado mi memoria que antes era bastante buena!
Una cosa que logré oír y que no olvidaré, es la Buena Nueva que sí lograron transmitirnos Pedro y Compañía. Los Ángeles hoy en el Apocalipsis están cantando “El Cordero merece recibir el honor, la gloria, la riqueza etc..”. ¿Y crees que merece el don de tu vida? ¡Lo creo yo! ¡Menos mal, María dijo que sí! Y Jesús no impone sino ¡espera por la orilla!
Está bien ayudar a Pedro en su pastorear. ¡No tengo redes (nets) para pescar, pero al menos puedo usar el ‘internet’!
Fr. Dara O'Brien is a Verbum Dei missionary priest from Dublin (Ireland). He was a medical doctor who became a missionary priest. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since 1998. He continues to write his reflections as a way of sharing the Word of God.
Read his testimony (in Spanish) at http://www.fmverbumdei.com/main/index.php/recursos/pautas/testimonio-de-dara
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