A Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, May 1, 2022 The Third Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Responsorial Psalm: 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13 Reading II:
Gospel: John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
As we continue this week on this third Sunday of Easter, the Apostles, especially Peter, experience another significant milestone in their spiritual journeys following the death and resurrection of Jesus. So much has happened in such a short time it must have been quite difficult even to begin to comprehend the immensity of it all, much less how they were to move forward while trying to steer clear of the persecution of the Pharisees and others. They had hoped that the death of Jesus would end any “new teaching” from God.
Peter, as leader of the Church established by Christ himself, probably needed time to step away as he and the other Apostles strove to determine how they would share the Gospel as commanded by Jesus. So, he went fishing. Like many of us, he needed to feel productive and, perhaps, even relaxed, doing something that he was good at so he could allow his mind and heart to find his way, ultimately “The Way” through Jesus Christ, who spent three years teaching, preaching, healing, and acting towards and with those who sought Him out; the sick, the dying, the outcast. After such a brief amount of time to learn and practice a new vocation in response to the call of Jesus, “Follow me,” were the Apostles ready for what was to come? What next?
Peter and the other Apostles once again hear Jesus’ instruction to cast the nets on the right side of the boat. They catch many large fish as when they had first met Him. Jesus offers them a meal and allows Peter the opportunity to atone for his sin of betrayal. This was not for the benefit of Jesus to hear Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, “Do you love me?”, but perhaps for Peter himself to hear it, believe it, and live it as he accepts the task placed before him by Christ, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.” Despite his misplaced attempts at protecting the Messiah and outright denying Him at the worst possible time, Peter begins to grasp the importance of his role, even to the point of his eventual martyrdom for his faith.
Wow! How many of us have received only a few years of teaching, maybe a brief internship, and then are sent out into the world to fulfill our vocation in life. I, for one, hope most of us have spent more time learning to master our craft to reach a level of confidence and expertise in our ability. And that’s without being persecuted in the process! Can you imagine being called to go out to change the world?
My friends that is exactly what we are called to do as Christians! The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2472 reads,
“The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man (woman) which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.”
Essentially, we are called to bring the Truth to the world. Everything we do in word and deed must be done with love for the other. We must strive, as the Apostles and first disciples, to love one another as Jesus loves us. Each time we attend Mass, we are welcomed and called to the table to receive the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ. When we allow Him to enter us deeply not only as sustenance for our bodies but as body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus for our souls, we should allow our hearts and minds to open to God’s will in our lives and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance each day so as to live our lives as Jesus taught us. This is Jesus’ call to each of us. This is what He means when He says, “Follow me.”
It is time for you to go out and change the world through the love of Jesus Christ. What next? That is up to you.