Brett Fawcett


Third Sunday in Easter – April 10, 2016
Acts 5.27-32, 40-41 | Psalm 30 | Revelation 5.11-14 | John 21.1-19
April 4, 2016

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection and performs a familiar miracle: he asks them (commands them really, in that gentle way of inviting us to obey him that Jesus does) to throw their fishing nets back into the sea.

Of course, once again, the nets fill up with fish, so many that they can't even pull the nets back into their boat. It's just like when Jesus first called his disciples and told them he would make them fishers of men.

Why did he perform this same miracle a second time and why now? I suspect it was because he wanted to refresh them; he wanted to bring them back to the basics.

Most of us need this experience from time to time: A relationship has grown stale, and the partners long for a return to the old initial spark that got them going. A job gets boring and tiresome, and the worker needs to remember why he got into it in the first place, why he chose to love and pursue this talent of his to the exclusion of all others.

But that night they caught nothing. - John 21.3

'But that night they caught nothing.'

John 21.3

The disciples, perhaps, needed this, too. Yes, they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. Yet, here they are, fishing once again for fish, rather than going out to tell the world that Jesus was alive again.

Why? Perhaps because they still, in their hearts, feared the nails and the sword's blades that could be reserved for them; perhaps they were still uncertain of what it meant that Jesus was alive.

He was no longer this fascinating and loving rabbi, but something much stranger and more amazing. So they returned to something comfortable and familiar: Fishing for fish, rather than for people.

So, Jesus takes them back to where it all began: He showed that he could give them more than they could possibly ever achieve on their own (not only could they never find that much fish on their own, they couldn't even get them into the boat without Jesus' help!).

Surely, they had the same feeling they had when they first dropped their nets, jumped off their boats, and followed this wonderful, mysterious man.

Perhaps this is also why Jesus let them fish all night without catching anything - to remind them how sterile and exhausting it can be to try to build a life without him.

In the First Reading, we see the results of that incident: The disciples rejoice when they are pulled before the Sanhedrin and are commanded to stop preaching.

They joyfully announce that they will obey God rather than men. By being who Jesus wanted them to be, they know the greatest happiness.

May this Easter season equally be a time when we find renewal in our own spiritual lives, a captivating sense of the beauty of Jesus - that sense of his love so enthralling that we would give up everything for the sake of his name.