The Gospel for this 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C, describes the turning point in the lives of the Apostles. The apostles were apparently lost as to what the future held for them. In the midst of this confusion, Peter declared that he was returning to his former trade—“I am going fishing” and six other apostles eloped with him. They fished all night and caught nothing. Then, at dawn, something happened. Christ appeared to them for the 3rd time and everything changed. He gave them the command to cast their net in a specific direction, and the result was amazingly fruitful; a great catch of about 153 fish and yet the net did not break. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we work with the grace of God and when we work in obedience to God’s word. No wonder Scripture says, “Cursed is the man who finds strength in the flesh; whose hope is in human beings…but blessed is the one whose hope is in the Lord; who finds strength in the Lord God our savior” and in another place it says, “But he who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm." (Proverb 1:33)
This event then continues with Christ inviting the apostles to breakfast during which something significant happened. He entrusted them with the ministry of being fishers of men, but before He could entrust them with this ministry, He first of all helped them to deal with their past—abandoning Him in the garden out of fear for their lives, and in the case of Peter, denying Him outright. They needed to be forgiven and to forgive themselves before they could presume to bring Jesus’ forgiveness to others, especially Peter. So, Jesus asks Peter, three times, (symbolically erasing the three times Peter denied Him) if he loved Him strong enough to commit his life to the course of the Kingdom of God. When Peter answered in the affirmative, Christ entrusted the care of His sheep to him, “Feed my sheep”.
My friends, this task was not only entrusted to Peter but to all of us as Disciples of Christ. We are called to feed His sheep; to bring hope, joy, peace, and forgiveness to those we meet; to work for the salvation of all souls; to bringing down the walls of bigotry, division and hatred; to stand in the breach between humanity and suffering; to defend those on the margins of society and to fight for the course of fairness, equality, and justice for all.
There is something to say about letting our lives be lived in obedience to God’s word. It lines us up with God’s vision for our lives, God’s graces for our wellbeing, God’s blessings for our surplus, and divine power for our deliverance and protection. The question for us today is, “Is my love for Jesus stronger than my fears of being His disciple in public life?” May God grant us the grace to answer “Yes” and “Amen” to this question and to mean it with our whole heart and soul! Today our Lord is inviting you to breakfast during which He inquires of you if you love Him enough to deny yourself, to take up your cross, and to follow Him.