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Gospel Reflection, John 21: 1-14
The glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus begins a whole new ‘creation narrative’. Jesus who is the ‘Logos’, The Word which became flesh, now dwells amidst His creation as the Risen Christ, glorified by God. The resurrection is the genesis of a new creation of God. This new creation is also filled with unblemished love, purity and holiness, as was the first creation, until it bore corruption so intense that it disrupted the equilibrium of all of creation. But what is unique about this new creation is that it is a gift of God’s love as well as His mercy. In the beginning when God created the world, He created it out of love and saw that everything was good. But now, through His risen Son Jesus, He creates everything with His love but also with His compassionate mercy. And it is this image of God, the quintessential image of mercy that renews the image of all of creation and aligns it with that of God.
In today’s Gospel reading, the risen Christ Jesus appears once again to His friends. The Evangelist John says in his gospel that the apparition happened at the Sea of Tiberias. ‘It was on or around this lake that Jesus did many of His wonderful miracles. 18 of the 33 recorded miracles of Christ were probably done in the immediate neighborhood of the Sea of Galilee. In the city of Capernaum alone He performed 10 of these. The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic: יַמּא דטבריא, Arabic:بحيرة طبريا), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 mi) in circumference, about 21 km (13 mi) long, and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide. The fresh waters of the lake are clean, and they have always been well stocked with a variety of fish.’ (Source: Wikipedia and bible-history.com)
During His ministry on earth, Jesus taught His disciples to be fishers of men. On this particular day Simon Peter decides to go fishing for actual fish and not men. It is important to observe that Simon Peter upon whom Jesus bestowed the ‘great ordination’ as I call it, of being the rock upon which the One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of Jesus would be build, is back in being engaged with his earthly profession. St. Peter is teaching us that having received Jesus in our lives, one should never forget the world in which we live and the responsibilities given to us. Those responsibilities come from God himself, in order to cultivate a culture that promotes dignity of labor, dignity of life and caring for the creation of God.
In our daily works in the world, we are also called to be fishers of men. We are expected to be on our boats of faith built in the wood of the Gospel truth and the light of the Church, equipped with the nets of righteousness, love, humility and wisdom. The Gospel reading accounts that they went fishing during the night. Our mission too as fishers of men, commissioned by our Baptism into the Catholic Church, is to venture into the waters (lives of people) especially when they are struggling in the darkness of sin, loneliness, despair and suffering.
Today’s Gospel also shows us that it is not always guaranteed that whenever we venture into the sea (“Go make disciples of all nations” – Mt 28:19) we will be received with open arms or have a ‘good catch’. We should be aware and open to the fact that we may have to sail back to our shore empty handed. Nevertheless, the resurrected Christ yet assures us that He will be there with us in our mission, as early as the break of light at dawn, and if we listen to his voice when He calls and throw the net in the direction that He asks us to (submitting to His will), then we will have a great catch and that our nets (Church) will still be able to contain. Through such an experience, the eyes of our hearts will instantly recognize the presence of The Lord even from a far off distance, just as the beloved disciple John did, and proclaimed, ‘It is The Lord’.
Therefore, we should always remember to look forward to have our first conversation of each day with God. For in the peace and serenity of day break, The Lord is watching out for us, praying for us and looking out for us to guide our course for the day. Jesus will then also invite us and lead us to be refreshed as well as be nourished by a meal with Him (Holy Eucharist), and by doing so He fulfills His promise of providing us with our daily bread (spiritual and temporal) from His Father in heaven. Let us allow our entire being to be renewed by the love and mercy of the Risen Savior and be partakers of His glory and eternal life of holiness, freedom and peace. Amen.