April 14, 2013
John 21: 1-19
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.”
They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.
That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
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.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the 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. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Do You Love Me?
The Acts of the Apostles reminds us that we are “witnesses” to Jesus’ Resurrection . . . and to the Holy Spirit “whom God has given to those who obey him.” How gently yet powerfully God expands our hearts throughout this Easter season, helping us fathom the depths of what it means to be witnesses and heralds of Jesus alive and present in our world.
We come today to the Sea of Tiberias. Again we get caught up in the human drama. John writes that “they caught nothing” . . . an experience all too familiar in our daily living. Then, as before, the sheer power of Jesus’ presence was felt on the waters. When they cast the nets to the other side, there were so many fish—153 to be exact —that they could not haul in the catch.
Then, as we take our breakfast of bread and fish from the hands of Jesus, the narrative rushes along: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Most of us are terrified at the thought of asking such a question . . . terrified because of the response we fear might come our way.
But Jesus is interested in one reality—the heart and face of the person before him. Each time Jesus asks the question he clarifies the relationship with Peter . . . and with us. It is this turning of the spirit—by Israel down through time, by Peter at the seashore, by each of us throughout our lives—that has won back God’s heart again and again. It is this movement of will that quickened Mary’s own “yes” to God. It is this same surge of hope and faith that deepens with every stirring of our own fractured hearts. Jesus says simply: “Do you love me?” And you and I look into his eyes and experience wondrous possibility . . . again and again!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, during this day, help me to hear your voice asking, “Do you love me?” Will your voice whisper to me when I experience the touch of love? When I look into eyes that sorrow over loss? When I soar in happiness? When I struggle with discouragement? When the need to control the next steps evades me?
Lord, will I hear your question when called to risk and sacrifice for the good? I will listen, Lord, and with your grace I will pronounce the purpose of my life, the answer to your question: “Yes, Lord, I love you.”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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