Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Today’s gospel names all of the disciples who went fishing with Peter - except two, who remain nameless. ("and two others of his disciples" John 21:2) Who were the other two? John's gospel doesn't tell us, but now, let's just suppose that those two nameless disciples are . . . you and I. Okay? Can you picture it?
We clamber aboard Peter's boat with the other apostles and hear the creak of the wooden boards under our feet. We feel the waves gently rock the boat all night long. A fresh breeze smells faintly of old fish. Peter kindly shows us newcomers the ropes. By moonlight, we help him hoist the heavy nets and cast them over the side, again and again. It's hard work! These men are good at their trade, but still, we catch nothing.
Then, when the sun is just cresting the Eastern horizon, a lone figure appears on the beach. The man shouts to Peter, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something."
Boy, do we ever! This time when we pull in the nets they're heavy with fish! They're big ones, so many we can't even heave them into the boat! So we pull them to shore, beach the boat, and empty our nets. The lively fish spill out, slippery and flopping all over - 153 of them! What a magnificent catch!
And better yet - in fact, MUCH better yet - the man on the beach turns out to be Jesus! The Risen Christ! Wow!
As if it's no big deal, Jesus invites us all to breakfast around a big charcoal fire he's tending on the beach. We realize we're cold, wet and famished. We dry off and warm ourselves by the fire, as Jesus feeds us bread and fish until we can't eat another bite. Yes, it's really Jesus! How wonderful!
Life is like this sometimes. Whether it's fish or something else, we try over and over to get results, but on our own, we come up with nothing - nada - zip! But when Jesus commands us to try something - even if we have tried it before with nothing to show for it - we need to obey. Yes, we need to obey Jesus! And when we obey our Lord and Master, there will be results.
Lord, help me to listen today for your command in my life. Help me to obey You, Lord! And then, if it pleases You, let me see the results of my obedience. For You are Lord of my life, the God I trust, love and obey. Amen.
Father Ed Bakker