Based on the Gospel of John 21: 1-19
A surprise breakfast at the seashore and another visit with Jesus after his Resurrection! That’s what Peter and the other disciples enjoy in this Sunday’s Gospel.
The disciples were out fishing all night but caught nothing. As morning comes, a man on the shore calls out to them, “Have you caught anything?” “No,” they answer. The stranger calls out, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat.” Peter and the others do just that. They catch so many fish they can’t pull the net into the boat.
John realizes the “stranger” is Jesus and says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” Very excited, Peter jumps out of the boat and wades to shore to meet Jesus. The other disciples bring the boat into shore, dragging the net full of fish behind them.
Jesus had brought bread, lit a charcoal fire, and was cooking a breakfast of fish and bread for Peter and the other disciples.
After breakfast, Jesus asks Peter the same question three times, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Why did Jesus ask Peter the same question three times? After Jesus was arrested, Peter was asked three times if he was a follower of Jesus, and each time Peter said, “No.” Jesus gives Peter another chance to show his love. He tells Peter, “Feed my lambs…. Tend my sheep…. Feed my sheep,” for he wants Peter to be the leader of his church and wants him to share this love and faith with all people. Jesus warns him this will cost him his life, but he says to Peter, “Follow me.”
This Gospel gives us several things to think about: (1) Jesus’ appearance is another proof to the disciples that he’s not a ghost; (2) The large catch of fish symbolizes the great number of people who will be brought into the church; (3) The disciples recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread when he “took the bread and gave it to them”; (4) The conversation between Jesus and Peter highlights Peter’s love for Jesus, and Jesus’ love for and trust in Peter as “the Rock” upon which Jesus’ church is to be built. Peter becomes the first chief shepherd of the church – the first pope.
Each Sunday at Mass, Jesus offers us nourishment – the Word of God and the sacrament of the Eucharist. We listen to the Scripture readings and we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in holy Communion.
Let us welcome Jesus into our hearts so he can help us grow in his love, and strengthen and encourage us to share the good news.