3rd Sunday of Easter, year C

Readings, Acts 5: 27-32, 40-41, Ps 30:2,4,5-6,11-12,13, Rev 5:11-14, John 21: 1-19

Christ encounters us in our past and present

The appearances of the risen Christ to his disciples happened in a gradual way. Seemingly, the disciples could not instantly comprehend the meaning of this event and they actually thought after the death of Christ that perhaps it as the end of it all. No wonder they withdraw to their old ways to their former occupations, because of practically two reasons; they had lost hope, and they had wanted to find something to occupy themselves with now that their master was no more.

Today’s gospel presents to us a scenario of the disciples, led by Peter who return to their former trade of fishing in the sea of Tiberias. This was the place where they had been called to be disciples by Christ the master. They defaulted to their expertise activity of fishing. However, that night they caught nothing. What a disappointment that they felt! They had lost their skills, maybe they were even cursing that day when they accepted the call of the stranger by the lake side. They must have been thinking of those three years with Christ as wasted years in which they gained nothing but rather lost their fishing skills.

It is a total human tendency to return to where we felt comfortable and secure before. It is a human tendency to turn back in the middle of the journey when one feels that the darkness is becoming so intense. But Christ whom we met in the beginning of our journey as Christians in baptism, continues to follow us and manifest himself to us even in the present less luminous moments.  He offers to us an opportunity of conversion and calls us to faith (casting down the nests) even in our moments of despair and disappointment, of tiring so hard without yielding any good results. All we need is to trust in him, not to trust in our own human or personal abilities. The disciples despite being highly experienced in the art of fishing obey him and accept to cast down the nets. Indeed, faith believes and doesn’t ask the question “how”?

Having faith in such moments as this leads to and experience of the wonder and awe that God brings to our life when we begin to obey him. the first reading from the acts of the apostles gives us an assurance that obedience to God comes before obedience to man. When we obey, we start to affirm that truly it is the Lord, our eyes are opened and we begin to see. The challenge is what do we obey more? Is it really the voice of God of our own voices, or the voices of other men and women? At times we are driven to obey others out of fear, insecurity of loosing our jobs, loosing our status. We must never compromise the voice of God for fear of what men will stay. Our faith calls us to stand firm for what we believe and to proclaim it boldly without fear of humiliation because we attain glory when we accept to suffer for the name of Christ, for the sake of the truth. This must become our pride.

From denial to affirmation and belief

The journey that Peter makes as a disciple represents a journey of a frail man, a weak person, of one who desire to follow but is not courageous enough to bear the consequences. It takes peter time to see the example of the master in order to come out and reaffirm his commitment and faith in Jesus. He does not lie down frustrated by his weakness; he comes out accept it and renew his commitment. Just as he denied him three times, so also, he proclaims his love to Christ three times and receives the mission of feeding, looking after and again feeding the flock. Christ does not base on Peter’s past in order to give him this responsibility. He bases on Peter’s willingness to change and transform. He bases on Peters affirmation of love, a love that is not anymore ready to betray and deny, but a love that is ready to die, to give up life, honor and human respect for the sake of Christ. This is the same kind of attitude that can change our own. Not anymore to look at ourselves with our guilt of the past betrayal, but being ready to become new creatures. Not to remain buried in the false and bygone effects of our detrimental actions, but to move on, to respond with enthusiasm to the question of Christ, do you love me? This is what brings and makes real the resurrection in our lives because we truly become born anew. May the Lord by his grace make us real in our discipleship and enable us to arrive at total conversion and transformation. Amen

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