In the Easter Season, we are hearing about the appearances of the Risen Jesus to the disciples in the Sunday readings. The third Sunday of Easter, we hear from the
Jesus repeatedly appeared to the disciples, before Pentecost, to strengthen them, and to prepare them for what he hoped for them to do; to proclaim to the world that He is Risen! As you read the appearance in John 21, two things immediately strike us.
The first is that the disciples seem lost, confused, and do not know what to do. Peter says “I am going fishing”. The others say “We will come with you”. Sounds to me like a bunch of friends hanging out, with nothing much to do! Prior to meeting Jesus, the disciples were fishermen. Now, with hopes and dreams about their new life following the Messiah shattered, they are tempted to go back to their old way of life. They could only conclude that this Jesus idea was all a big mistake, three years of their life wasted, let’s go home… (Recall the story in Luke 24:13-35, where the two disciples were leaving Jerusalem, going home, thinking it was all over.) The other thing that strikes us about this story, is that it is very similar to how Peter first met Jesus, three years earlier. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus gets into Peter’s boat to preach to the crowd, after preaching he asks Peter and his companions to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch”. Peter responds by telling Jesus we’ve “Worked all night long but have caught nothing, yet if you say so.” They lower their nets and catch a miraculous load of fish, and Jesus says “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people”, then they left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus came to bring us all salvation. But he appeared over and over to his disciples after the resurrection, to strengthen them to become what he originally called them to be: fishers of People, to be proclaimers of the Gospel, to tell the world that He is Risen, and to Believe in the Gospel and Be saved! As St. Paul tells us in Romans 10:13-15, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written [in Is 52:7] ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
There can be no greater vocation, than to preach the Gospel! To proclaim to the world that Jesus has risen! Because you have seen him! Because you have been Sent! Because you have been called!
You are called! The Risen Lord wants to appear to you, so that you can be sent to proclaim to others HE IS RISEN! He wants to make you a fisher of People! You are to haul in a miraculous catch for His Kingdom!
We are in a time when the Church is GROWING! The Church continues to Speak of a NEW EVANGELIZATION! Pope Francis is calling us to GO OUT AND PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL! The HOLY SPIRIT is being poured out upon us, like in the days of the Early Church, so that we will again proclaim the Gospel and testify to it by signs and wonders; miracles, healings, and signs.
Will you, like the first disciples in Luke 5:1-11, allow the Lord to get into your boat and invite you to “Put out into Deeper Water and lower your net for a catch”? Will you listen to Him direct you from the shore; “Cast your net to the right side of the boat and you will catch some”? Are you willing to gather around the table of the Lord each day for breakfast (the Eucharist) with other fishers of people, to be fed and directed by the Risen Lord himself? How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Especially when those feet are wearing Franciscan Sandals!
The Risen Lord is calling! “Come Follow Me”. “Do you Love Me? Feed my Sheep”. Will you consider joining the Franciscans and proclaiming “Christ is Risen” by your life, by your words, by your witness? Reread John Chapter 21, and meditate on it! Then, if the Lord calls, come learn more about the Franciscan Religious Life as a Priest or Brother at our upcoming “Come and See” retreat at our Friary in Arroyo Grande April 29-May 1st.