Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Allow me to take the opportunity to thank all those who gave of their time, talent, and treasure to make our Holy Week and Easter Liturgies a worthy celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery. In particular I thank the choir, those who gave to the Easter Memorial Find so that we would have beautiful flowers for Easter, those who assisted decorating the Church, and last but not least our Altar Servers and their parents. These young people were dedicated and generous in their service to their Church.
In our Gospel today, the risen Jesus reveals himself to the Apostles by the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee). Peter had returned to the one thing he knew well, fishing. After having caught nothing, and being told by a stranger on the shore to put his nets out again on the right side, Peter and the Apostles were not able to pull the net in because of the large number of fish. John said to Peter “it is the Lord!”. Peter jumps into the water and swims to shore while the others bring the boat in. They find Jesus by a charcoal fire.
This not just a minute detail. There are two places in scripture where the detail is “charcoal” fire are found. The first is in today’s Gospel, and the other is in John 18:18, where Peter and some guards warmed themselves by a charcoal fire in the court of the High Priest on Holy Thursday. It was by that charcoal fire that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.
Now this fire is the place of Peter’s repentance. As Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?”. Three times. After each of Peter’s professions of love, Jesus commands Peter to “feed my sheep.” This shows that Peter is being commissioned to shepherd the Lord’s flock as head of His Church.
But Jesus tells Peer what his being shepherd will require. “When you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18) This was indicating that Peter would be a martyr, suffering death by crucifixion. “You will stretch out your hands.”
Jesus had warned his Apostles, and us, that if the world hated him, it would also hate us, and that his followers would suffer as he suffered. (see John 15:18)
The First Reading today show us the beginning of this persecution as the Apostles wee scourged (flogged, whipped) as Jesus was. However in our actual reading the verse where the apostles were flogged was left out, see Acts 5:40.
The Apostles were preaching even though they had been ordered not to by the Sanhedrin (the ruling council).
The Church teaches that the “obligation to do the will of God must supersede the directives of any human authority. Our choices and actions should never be determined by mandates or laws in- compatible with the law of God. Citizens have not only the right but also an obligation to disobey civil authority that requires transgression of the moral law. Human laws and institutions must always be a reflection of the natural law derived from God’s eternal wisdom. The denial of this objective truth is what leads societies and institutions into oppressive and unjust domination over the human person.: (see Catechism 450, 597, 663, 2242-2244, 2256)
Flogged as the Apostles were, they left the council “rejoicing that they have been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name [of Jesus]” (Acts 5:41). The Psalm today shows this type of faith that leads to Joy, even in suffering, because God will change their “mourning into danc- ing” (Psalm 30:12).
They know that through their sufferings, they will be found worthy to stand in heaven before “the Lamb who was slain” (Second Reading Revelation 6:9-11)
May we be found worthy to stand before the Lamb who, once slain, now lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen! Alleluia!
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona