3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts of the Apostles 4:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
April 10, 2016
Last week we heard how Jesus appeared twice to his disciples after his Resurrection. Both of these appearances were inside.
Apparently, while inspiring, those two appearances had not yet the disciples on their mission going forward. They appear still to be in distress all that has happened.
In the midst of their distress, Peter announces he is going fishing. This is not some male way of getting away from the problem. Peter, and several of the others, were fishermen by trade. It was familiar to them and, if it was how they made their living, they must have been good at it.
Well, they should have been good at it but apparently on this night they weren’t. They caught nothing. Why not? I suspect they weren’t really thinking about fishing. Their minds and hearts were probably still thinking about Jesus.
Here comes Jesus but they don’t realize it is him. We don’t know why they didn’t recognize him. Likely, their distress was part of this. Jesus tells them to cast their nets over the right side of the boat. When they do, they catch a huge amount of fish.
What was their purpose in fishing? The purpose of fishing can be seen in a basic human need. We need to eat.
Jesus provides for their needs. They catch plenty when they do what Jesus’ tells them. Lest one think, they just got lucky in a new spot with the fish, look at what they find when they get to the shore. Jesus is there with a fire going with fish and bread already on it.
They hadn’t brought the fish they caught to the shore yet. Where did Jesus get the fish He was grilling from? Where did the bread come from?
Simple. Jesus provided what they needed. He provided them with food. What they saw was earthly food.
Jesus is concerned with our need for physical food but Jesus is concerned with more. This was not the first time Jesus shared bread with his disciples nor would it be the last.
Jesus celebrates a meal with bread for us every time we come for Mass but it is not just bread we receive. What we celebrate here is bread and wine that God transforms into the Body and Blood of Jesus for us.
Do we recognize it for what it is?
Remember how Jesus’ disciples did not recognize him when He appeared on the shore? How many people today fail to recognize the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? It is not just bread and wine. We can’t see the change. It doesn’t look any different. It doesn’t taste any different. So in a world where science provides many answers, if it isn’t proven, we don’t often believe. We have lost the sense of the mystery of God.
Having lost the sense of mystery, people don’t come to church so much, if at all. Sometimes it might seem like we don’t get much out of it.
When our focus of coming to Mass is what do we get out of it, we are looking for what feels good. In the short term that might seem great but if we see it as a divine mystery, it isn’t just about feeling good for a few minutes. It is about drawing us into a deeper relationship with God and praising God for the love He has shown to us.
The Sacraments are given to us to celebrate the mystery of God. We use “things” in the sacraments; water, oils, bread and wine. However, it is not about the things, it is about the grace offered in the sacrament.
For the Eucharist, it is about the Body and Blood of Jesus. At our 10:30 Mass, we have eleven children who will be receiving the Eucharist for the first time. This will be a special moment for them.
Do you remember your First Communion? How long ago was it? For our three people who received the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil, it was just two weeks ago. For some, it has just been a year since the first time. For others here it has been over 80 years since the first time.
How does the last time you received Communion compare to the first time? Have we become used to it? It can become routine to us but we must remember it is Jesus each and every time. We must come to Mass not just to feel good but to connect in a deep way with the mystery of God’s grace.