Fishing for Humble Hearts
April 17, 2020
Friday of the Octave of Easter
After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize 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 Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. 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 realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to listen for the guidance of your voice and to respond with faithful and loving obedience, confident that you will bless and multiply all I do for good.
1. I Am Going Fishing: Peter was struggling, lost, and floundering. Not surprisingly, he turned back to where he felt secure, comfortable, and in control, taking the other disciples with him. What does his response to stress say to me about my own life? Do I recognize how inner confusion gives rise to thoughts of self-reliance or cowardness? “We have caught nothing!” Peter’s decision resulted in a night of futile fishing with empty nets and empty hearts. What “boats” do we cling to that have us toiling in vain? The Lord wants to speak to our hearts about those places in our life where false securities are hiding us from him.
2. It Is the Lord: Jesus stood on the shore as a beacon who remained steadfast, vigilant, and faithful, but they did not recognize him. “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” Responding negatively, they realized the night’s deceit. Jesus had invited the disciples to let go of and cast aside the nets entangling them in apprehension and fear. Only when they obeyed his command did incredible results follow. Out of love, John, the beloved disciple called out, “It is the Lord.” Peter was not the first to recognize Jesus, but he was the first to respond. As John loved and Peter acted on this love, let us intuitively jump into the water to get close to the Lord. Let’s ask him to show us where he wants us to be open to accepting his will. He may surprise us!
3. Come: How tenderly and sensitively Jesus dealt with his beloved disciples. Likewise, he knows our needs and our hunger. How open and aware are we to God’s kindly care for us in each moment? The disciples caught such a great number of fish and yet the net did not break. The disciples learned to bend themselves in obedience to what Jesus was asking of them and to trust that he would bless and make their efforts fruitful. They learned that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). None of them were bold enough to ask, “Who are you?” because they knew he was the Lord. On the shore, taking the bread, Jesus revealed himself in the Eucharist as a privileged place for an encounter with the Risen Jesus. When we receive the Eucharist, we can spend time speaking to him, asking him to stay with us, to bless and multiply our efforts to be obedient to him.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are always there at the water’s edge of my ordinary life. You know how to nourish me with your word and warm me with the fire of your love in the Eucharist. Help me, in turn, to nourish, heal, and love those in my life and all I encounter today. Let me never tire of listening for your voice and heeding your command in faithful obedience. I put my trust in your grace to do marvels working through my faithfulness, humility, and sincerity of heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will see all situations as opportunities for loving with attentive kindness and gentleness to accept and respond to the needs of others before my own.