3rd Sunday of Easter Year C - 1/5/2022 - Gospel: Jn 21: 1-14 or 1-19
Team Leader
The idea of having a group leader, who would take Jesus' place when He was not around with them was not a new idea. Jesus had been contemplating it for sometimes, because He knew that He would return to the Father, and that the group needed to have a leader to take His place when He was not with them. His first attempt happened when He asked the apostles, 'Who do you say I am?'. Peter, On behalf the apostles, answered: 'The Christ of God'...The Son of the living God'. Jesus replied: 'you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church' Mt 16: 15-18.

On several occasions, Peter had acted as a speaker and leader for the group, and today was not different: He initiated the idea of fishing and several others joined him. The reading has several metaphorical images, namely: Catching no fish, darkness of the night, breakfast on the beach, and nakedness, all point to a deeper and higher value.

The apostles spent a whole night long but caught nothing. They laboured in vain and in darkness. In a spiritual sense, the emptiness and darkness of the night indicate that without God on our side, we would not be able to achieve good things. The darkness of the night indicates the darkness of a person's heart; the emptiness of the net points to a life without purpose. Both speak about the emptiness of spirituality in life.

Early next morning, a stranger on the beach, yelled out to them, telling them to cast their nets on the other side of their boat. Surprisingly, they listened to the stranger and netted a huge catch. The extraordinary catch at an unusual spot-near the shore - made the disciple Jesus loved realizing that it was the Lord. He told Peter, and Peter had wasted no time - jumped right into the water to come to Jesus. This abrupt response revealed the heart of the man. Peter had acted as if his own safety was secondary. The huge catch was not important. Showing his love for Jesus was his first priority. The phrase 'Peter had nothing on' probably had nothing to do with his nakedness in clothing, but more about his lack of courage and joy, and the urgency to meet the risen Lord. Peter didn't wait for others but he alone came to Jesus first indicating that Jesus would full-fill what Peter was lacking.

When all others reached the shore, there was a charcoal fire burning and fish was already baked. The risen Lord provided them breakfast. They all shared the same bread and the same fish with Jesus. None of them could raise any queries because their eyes had seen the risen Lord, their ears heard Him and they had sat around Him. Having breakfast implied a new day, a new beginning, and a new dawn with sun light. This was in contrast to the Last Supper which happened in the dark at the end of a day. Having breakfast with Jesus on the beach was the reminder of the Eucharist Jesus had established at the Last Supper. It also reminded them the time Jesus was on Peter's boat preaching to the crowds on the beach.

Jesus asked Peter the same question three times. It probably had nothing to do with the three times Peter denied knowing Jesus, but rather, to do with the Church Jesus established. Peter answered 'Yes' three times. Each time revealed a new task. The first one, Peter promised to love Jesus more than others. It implied Peter would exemplify his faith to his brothers. The saying 'feed my lambs' probably indicates the infant Church, and the last one involved the entire Church. The commitment to follow was dear. It costed Peter's life to 'give glory to God'.

We pray to be faithful to the Risen Lord.