Third Sunday of Easter (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

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The risen Jesus’ encounter with his disciples near the Sea of Galilee is described with a clear catechetical intent. Underlying the account is the central symbolism of the catch in the middle of the lake. Its message could not be more relevant for us Christians: only the presence of the risen Jesus can make the evangelizing work of his disciples effective.

The story describes for us, in the first place, the work that the disciples are doing in the middle of the night. It all starts with Simon Peter’s decision: I am going fishing. The other disciples join him: We also will come with you. They are all together once again, but Jesus is missing. They go out fishing, but they do not embark listening to Jesus’ call, but following rather Simon Peter’s initiative.

The narrator makes it clear that this work is carried out at night and ends up fruitless: that night they caught nothing. In the language of the evangelist, night means the absence of Jesus who is the Light. Without the presence of the risen Jesus, without his encouragement and his guiding word, there is no fruitful evangelization.

When dawn comes, Jesus appears. From the shore, he communicates with his friends by means of his Word. The disciples do not know it is Jesus, and they will only recognize him when they obediently follow his directions and come up with a surprising catch. Such a thing can only be due to Jesus, the Prophet who one day called them to be “fishers of men.”

Not a few parishes and Christian communities are in critical situation. Strength is declining. Christians who are more committed spread themselves too thin as they cover all kinds of tasks: they are always the same ones and the same ones do everything. Do we need to continue doubling our efforts and seeking the yield at any cost, or do we need to take a pause to cherish the living presence of the Risen One in our work?

In order to spread the Good News of Jesus and work efficiently with him in his project, what is important is not to do “a whole of things,” but to take better care of the human and Gospel-based quality of what we are doing. What is decisive is not activism but the witness of life that we Christians can radiate.

We cannot remain on the “epidermis of faith.” These are times to take care of what is essential, before anything else. We fill our communities with words, texts, writings, but what is decisive is that Jesus is listened to among us. We hold many meetings, but what is most important is that which brings us together for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Only in him does our strength to evangelize finds nourishment.

April 10, 2016
3rd Sunday of Easter (C)
John 21, 1-19

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