Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: April 9 (Lectionary # 265) Friday of Easter Octave. Acts
4:1-12. Psalm 118:1-2,4,22-24.25-27a. John 21:1-14.
Opposition against the new movement started by the followers of Jesus now
builds up as we learn about the effect of Peter and John’s healing of the
cripple who begged at the Beautiful Gate. They healed him in the name of
Jesus who is risen from the dead. Luke lists those who took action against
the two apostles who witnessed to Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection
by preaching and healing. We read of the leaders, the elders, scribes,
temple guard, Sadducees, Annas, Caiphas, John, and Alexander. Thus it seems
to be primarily the ones concerned with the Temple, namely, the priests and
Levites. Despite the threat the apostles will continue to witness to Jesus’
words and deeds. They do so boldly because of their renewed faith based on
the resurrection of their Lord and Savior. This behavior is too much for
the “authorities” and thus they begin a type of mitigated persecution that
soon would be followed by stronger opposition. The fact of this being a
reasonable amount of opposition only makes the movement grow. We hear of
5000 entering the faith on this occasion. Jesus the Nazorean is the cause
of this growth.
Our Gospel takes us back into the territory of Jesus the Nazorean where he
first attracted his key followers. Seven of them are fishing; five of them
are named–Peter, the sons of Zebedee, Nathaniel from Cana, and Thomas the
Twin (Didymus). We learn from the author of this additional chapter in
John that this is the third time that Jesus has appeared. It is
interesting that apprations of the Risen Jesus take place both in Jerusalem
(Luke and John chapter 20) and in Galilee (Mark, Matthew, and John chapter
21). There are multiple locations and multiple appearances of the Risen
One. In this account, Jesus is very down to earth. He is on the shore
preparing a fire for breakfast with those who are fishing. They listen to
his shouting to keep casting and they haul in a miraculous catch of one
hundred and fifty three fish. The number has baffled most commentators and
there is almost a comical interpretation when one takes the time to
research all of the conjectures about the number of fish. Satisfy it to
say that it probably represents the call of everyone to follow the Lord.
We are compared to fish this time rather than sheep! Take your choice.
Universal salvation however is what Christianity is all about and Jesus is
the one whom we Christians believe has brought this about. Like the
disciples especially the one who loved the Lord (he is unnamed) we know it
is the Lord and we come to him to receive both the bread and the fish.