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3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C – Homily

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 5:27-32; 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13 (2a)
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19
May 1, 2022

Last week we heard how the disciples gathered in the locked room for fear of the Jews.  This happened not once, but twice.  Both times Jesus came to them.

The disciples have left the locked room.  Peter announces to the others, “I am going fishing.”  The others respond that they will go with him.  This is not a bunch of guys taking the weekend off to go fishing. Peter, as well as several others of the disciples were fishermen by trade. 

Much has happened.  Peter and the others might be looking to go back to do something familiar.  However, I think another possibility is likely.  They are preparing to move forward in faith.  To do so, they go fishing to make some income.

However, when they go fishing, “they caught nothing.”  This would be disappointing.  Sometimes we feel we struggle to accomplish our goals.

From the boat, they see a man standing on the shore but we are told they did not know who it is.  The man tells them to “cast the net over the right side of the boat.

They don’t know who it is. They are professional fishermen.  So, who is this man to give them advice?  They might have easily dismissed his words but they do not.  They do what the man says.

What happens?

They caught so many fish that they couldn’t pull the net it for it was so full.

They had not recognized Jesus but perhaps something in their hearts told them to listen to the man.  Good choice!

Sometimes it is hard to recognize God’s voice speaking to us.  We need the Holy Spirit to help us know what God says to us.  When we try to do things our way, we may catch nothing but if we listen to Jesus and follow his commands, we can accomplish great things.

We are told that they caught 153 fish.  Why 153?  There are a couple of different explanations for the number.  They point to the same thing, that 153 becomes a number that symbolizes the whole world.  Jesus sends the disciples out to all nations.  All are children of God.

Now, the disciples know it is Jesus.  They go to him on the shore by the fire.

Do you remember what Peter did when Jesus was arrested?

He denied Jesus three times.

Now, Jesus asks Peter to affirm his love for him three times. 

Peter had a weak moment in faith.  It was hard for Peter to understand how Jesus could be arrested.  Now, having seen Jesus crucified and risen, Peter knows better.  Peter is ready to serve the Lord.  In response to Peter’s profession of love for Jesus, Jesus calls Peter to tend his sheep.

Peter and other others will now go out and boldly proclaim Jesus. 

For this, they are arrested.  As the high priest spoke to them, he says, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name?” 

Yes, the Jewish leaders had told the disciples to stop teaching about Jesus.  The disciples did not.  Why?  They reply, “We must obey God rather than me.

There are people today who tell us to stop preaching about what Jesus teaches.  They say everyone must be free to choose to believe what they want.

Yes, God gives us free will, but we are not really free to choose if we have not heard what our options are.  People need to hear what God teaches.  We must proclaim Jesus.  We must do so not in judgment but in love.

The disciples have witnessed great acts by Jesus and shared them with us along with Jesus’ teaching.  We need to do the same.

The disciples faced suffering and persecution for proclaiming Jesus to others.  Once again, “The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.”

How did the disciples feel about being persecuted?

They left “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

How do you feel when someone speaks against you for your faith?

Are you embarrassed?  Are you fearful?  Do you become silent?  Or is it a sign that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do?

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