“Don’t withhold from yourself what God readily gives you. Forgiveness.” Fr Paul.
In the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Easter we find the Apostles dejected and discouraged following the death of our Lord. Peter appears close to throwing in the towel on his discipleship and going back to his old way of life, declaring, “I’m going fishing.”
We then hear of the Apostles going out on the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realise yet that it was Jesus!
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realised it was the Lord.
Fr Paul draws attention to a few key points.
Firstly, that seeing Jesus on the beach by the charcoal fire likely reminded Peter of the last time he was by such a fire where he denied Jesus 3 times. Even knowing Jesus forgave him, Peter hadn’t fully forgiven himself and thus hadn’t summoned the strength to start the journey of helping to build the Church that we know today. Jesus is able to help Peter move on by asking him to “feed my lambs and tend me sheep“.
Secondly, that perhaps this is a little like us after a confession? Accepting forgiveness from Jesus through the priest but perhaps not fully able to forgive ourselves and move on? Like Peter who was also flawed, we need to forgive ourselves, move on and perhaps try a little harder to accomplish greater things in our Lord’s name.
Thirdly, Jesus asks Peter to “come follow me” and Father Paul reminds us that he asks the same of us.
Thank you! If you have your own thoughts on the Gospel – do let us know in the comments.