This is Friday in Easter Week and our Gospel lesson comes from John 21:1-14. This is the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. John writes, “Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and He revealed Himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 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.” (Jn 21:1-3)
Look at John’s details. Peter is with seven disciples. The number seven is important. It is the biblical number for “fullness.” Peter explains what he plans on doing and the seven follow. They toil all night and disappointed. Was this just a bad night for fishing? What are they lacking? The answer is not “what” do they lack but “who” do they lack. They lack Jesus with them.
Later, as the sun was rising Jesus was seen standing on the shoreline. He explains to Peter what he must do to catch a large amount of fish. John writes, “He said to them, “Cast the net on 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, for the quantity of fish.” (Jn 21:6)
The amount of fish was overwhelming and yet the net did not break. John looks to the shore and is about to identify Jesus standing on the shore. Peter drags the net ashore and lays the whole catch of fish before the feet of Jesus. By this time everyone recognized it was the Lord.
Jesus take a fish and bread and makes breakfast. Feeding everyone. Is that single fish that Jesus used to make breakfast with a “sign” of Himself? The Church may have a fullness with good leadership, gifts, supporting members and resources at her disposal. But without Jesus and His directions; and without Him feeding His flock in the Holy Eucharist, the Church will always toil long and hard in this world producing little or no results.
In the Gospel we have two things that happen that we must imitate. The first is we must know that Jesus always reaching out to us to provide direction for us. And Jesus will feed us as often as we want to be fed. But secondly, like John, we must open our eyes to recognize Him and see how He is reaching out to us; and like Peter we must prepare ourselves and come to Jesus, we must be willing to swim against the tides of the culture in order to bring to Him the fruit of our labor. Amen