by Rev. Fr. Mammen Mathew
Gospel Reading: St. John 21: 1 - 14
The Gospel passage for reading and meditation during this Sunday service is from St. John chapter 21 verses 1 through 14. Here we see our Resurrected Lord appearing to the Apostles for the third time after resurrection. There were seven of them, including our patron Apostle St. Thomas, who were fishing in the sea of Galilee. They probably thought that their master had gone forever and they had to go back to their old trade of fishing. As usual, Peter took the lead, to take them back to fishing. They labored all night, but did not catch any fish. In the midst of their frustration and fatigue, Jesus appeared on the shore for assistance. In the beginning they did not know that it was Jesus standing on the shore because it was so unexpected. When Jesus asked them whether they had any catch they replied 'none'. Then Jesus instructed them to cast the net to the right side of the boat. They obeyed Him and caught a large number of fish -which counted one hundred and fifty three of different kind and color.
In the beginning Jesus appeared to them as an ordinary man of that area. It was John who first recognized that the stranger is Jesus. Jesus willingly showed Himself to remove their fear. He wanted to show that His resurrected body is indeed human and glorified. The reason for Jesus' miraculous appearances and showing His physical body and eating with them are to strengthen their faith in Him. He wanted them to truly believe that He had resurrected from death. He is alive and available to them as before. Jesus wanted them to be fishers of men of all races and regions with clear understanding that Christ is alive and ever present to one who believes in Him. Helping them to catch fish, preparing the meal and eating with them shows Jesus� concern for their well being. He shows His affection to them by calling them children.
What is the message we get from this Gospel passage?
First of all, we see a caring Jesus to His disciples. Like a friend, He comes with a helping hand when His people are helpless. He is present where we worship and where we work. He gives us strength when we are weak. He gives us hope and happiness when we are desperate. He will change our darkness into light. He wanted us to work towards the right side- the side where light is ever present. He wanted us to be the right side of the Father like Him. In this Gospel passage we see three miracles.
1. They caught so much fish with one throw of the net-which is impossible to human experience. They labored all night and caught nothing. But, when Jesus told them to throw the net they caught so much in one cast.
2. It is noticed that a heavy load of one hundred and fifty three large fishes
did not tear
the net while they were pulling it to the boat.
3. They saw a well-prepared meal was waiting there for them to eat. That is very unusual to see on a remote sea-shore.
Asking by Jesus to bring some of their catch to include in the meal shows Jesus� desire to see His children offer part of their earnings to Him to enjoy too. That shows that Jesus wants us to work and He will reward us abundantly. Earn our bread and share with others.
Church fathers compares the fish to the different tribes of people who joins the Church.
The net is the Church of Jesus Christ. It will not break at any cost. It can contain all people of all nations all the times. The Holy Spirit maintains this net. No power can destroy it.
This passage reminds us that Jesus will not leave us when we go through trials and tribulations or when our faith is challenged by calamities or persecutions. He will never leave His children unattended. He may let us suffer a little bit but when things go out of hand or desperate He comes and lifts us up. In our desperation, sometimes we may think that Jesus is sleeping or not concerned. But that is not true in the case of the apostles on many occasions. It is true with many of our past experiences too. He directs us to His way, which is better than our way. Whatever happens in our lives God has a better plan for us if we let Him control the steering. The apostles sacrificed their lives for the kingdom of God after these kinds of incidents and they will sit at the right hand of the Father with Jesus. Are we willing to listen to Jesus� invitation to work for the Kingdom of God? Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may enable us to work towards that goal.
May God Bless us all.
Nothing Without God
by Rev. Fr. Laby Panackamattom
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