Reflection for Third Sunday of Easter (C) – May 5, 2019
Their world has been turned upside down. Their best friend and teacher was crucified, but now he is alive. Mary Magdalene met him outside the tomb, though she thought he was a gardener, and Thomas touched his wounded side, though he thought it impossible to believe one could rise from the dead. No words could capture the events they witnessed in those days, and the miraculous nature of such inexplicable encounters must have left their minds racing. In the midst of such joyful chaos, they longed for the familiar, for a sense of normalcy, so they returned to what they knew best. “I am going fishing,” Peter declares, and together they launch onto the sea. How often do we too find our lives upset by the strange and exciting, by events both sorrowful and hopeful at the same time? How often do we find our heads spinning with unanswered questions about the past, about the present, about the future? How often do we ache for a return to something simpler, something recognizable, something we can easily manage and reason out? In the commotion of final exams, graduation, travel plans, and summer jobs, it is only natural to long for everything to settle into place. Yet even in the disciples’ boat, the voice of our risen Lord calls out from the shore. As our semester closes inside this Easter season, may we continue to listen for Jesus and have the courage to say with Peter, “It is the Lord.”
At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find some-thing.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
’Tis the spring of souls today; Christ has burst the prison,
and from three days’ sleep in death as a sun has risen;
all the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give laud and praise undying.
Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts, comes its joy to render;
comes to gladden faithful hearts, who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.