Third Sunday of Easter (C)

Today let’s focus in on the fisherman, the head of the apostles, the first Bishop of Rome, the first pope. We come upon him in today’s Gospel reading some time between the first Easter experience of the Lord in the Upper Room and Jesus’ Ascension to the Father.  Peter and his companions were fishing. They had been fishing when Jesus first called them and told them they would become fishers of men. When this time they had no success fishing, the Lord called them to cast their nets to the right side of the boat.  After they brought up a haul of fish, Peter realized that this is the Lord, tucked in his clothes, and jumped into the water.  He would not wait to row ashore. He wanted to be with Jesus. His companions followed shortly afterward with the fish, 153 huge ones.  Why 153? Why not 150 or 175, or some other number? 153 was the number of the then known nations of the world. The apostles would be hauling in all people throughout the world[1].

Peter’s three affirmations of the Lord follow.  Simon, son of John.  Do you love me more than these? Simon was put distressed that Jesus asked him a third time… Peter’s three affirmations were more than the antitheses of his three denials.  Peter was now being called to show that he really loved Jesus by caring for the Lord’s people.

And so, the Lord calls out to me and to you: “Joe, Mike, Linda, Teresa, Do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”  “Then care for my people; do something about it, care for my people.”  And the Lord calls out to every single one of us.  Do you really love me? We say we love him. But anyone can say anything.  If we really love Him, we are going to do something to show we love Him.  We are going to care for His people.

Peter and John did not want to be flogged, but if it was the result of calling people to Jesus Christ, it was worth it, infinitely worth it.  Nor did Peter want to be put to death, as Jesus told him he would be at the end of the Gospel of John. That was physical death.  The Love of the Lord is forever.  We do not want to be excluded from the inner circle at school, work, or even at home.  But if it results in people coming to Jesus, it is infinitely worth it.  We do not want to make so many hard choices in life, denying ourselves the immoral pleasures of the world, but we do so for the sake of the Lord.  His sheep need us to be wholesome, sincere, and People of God.

And in the long run, when we recognize that this world is limited, but the Lord is forever, when we admit that the happiness we are tempted to seek is shallow and selfish and not happiness at all, we enter into the Church, we experience the joy of the Lord, joy that is ours forever, and we look up and say, He is Risen

[1] Sunday 14th April, 2013, 3rd Sunday of Easter. Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me - Ps 29(30):2, 4-6, 11-13. Apocalypse 5:11-14. John 21:1-19.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris