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Third Sunday of Easter

Third Sunday of Easter

Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

Already the Third Week of Easter and every day we are hearing stories of the history of our Church and the growing Christian Community. In our first reading we realize that our forebears in the faith encountered some pretty dangerous conditions and the possibility of persecution.  Their faith and commitment were expressed at enormous risk.  Sadly this is still true for Christians in many parts of our world.  Today’s readings challenge us who are not personally endangered to ask how strong is our personal faith commitment.

In the Gospel we witness Jesus’ last earthly meal and encounter with His disciples.  John makes the Holy Thursday meal one of service. The Gospel sounds very simple but is filled with so much symbolism.  Just two weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus and already Peter is   going back to his old, familiar ways.   He is going fishing.  John makes it clear that they started while it was night.  That may be a good time for fishing, but it is never a good time in the Gospel of John because for John, Jesus is light.  Of course, they had no success.

It is only in the light and in response to Jesus’ instructions that the disciples are able to make a catch.  The 153 fish is symbolic of every type of fish that was possible to be found.   It was a reminder too of Jesus’s call for them to be “fisher of men.”   That is, ALL of humanity.

Jesus never mentioned Peter’s failings, and Peter made no apologies or excuses.  For Jesus, reconciliation was and is not a matter of guilt, blame or penance, but an opportunity for transformation.  It is in this action of Jesus that we are aware of being sinners, acknowledge our limitation and allow grace to work effectively within us.  Only with that humble acknowledgment of our limitations that we learn what it means to love as Jesus loves.

Peter learned that he failed to catch fish the first time because he had been working alone, without the help of Jesus. If like Peter, we’ve been working all night and have caught nothing, maybe it’s because we’ve been working alone, without Jesus.   Maybe the reason for our failure is that we’ve forgotten what Jesus said to His followers in an earlier chapter of John’s Gospel: “I am the vine, you are the branches.   Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5   If like Jesus’ disciples we find we have already gone back to our old ways, let us be reminded of Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.   May the Easter power continue to empower us to follow the Lord more closely!

Fr. Ron