Don’t Go Fishing Just Yet: Easter Reflection on The Risen Jesus’s Appearance to His Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias in John 21:1-14

Don’t Go Fishing Just Yet: Easter Reflection on The Risen Jesus’s Appearance to His Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias in John 21:1-14

April 25, 2024 0 By BLACKCATHOLIC

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.

John 21:1-14

I have a confession to make: I stole the idea for this reflection from a nun.

But I told her I was going to steal it, so it’s fine.

Now, I started with a confession, but I also have a salutation: Happy Easter!

And with this salutation I also have a profession. It is the same: Happy Easter!

Because even though weeks have passed since that Holy Day it is still very much Easter. In fact, it is the Fourth Week of Easter because Easter is not just one day, it is an entire season, and the celebration continues. But sometimes we need to be reminded of this because sometimes we treat baseball season or the NFL season more like seasons than we do Easter. Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying sports seasons, but if we don’t treat the celebrations of athleticism like they are one and done things how much MORE should we NOT treat the celebrations of Catholicism like one and done things either.

And so I want to strengthen this resolve within us through using an insight we get from the gospel reading we got during the octave week of Easter this year.

But first, how many of us do a little bit of fishing?

Well, if you do then you’re in good company because what is the one thing the Apostles returned to after Jesus rose from the dead?

Our gospel reading from John says: “Simon Peter said to them [the Apostles], ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We also will come with you.'”

Keep in mind, this is after the Resurrection, which was only the greatest, most electrifying event the world has ever seen – and the Apostles had already seen the Risen Jesus at least once already! Everything has changed at this point, so why in the world are they going back to fishing like the old order of things didn’t just get turned upside down? Scholars have long debated the reasons why up till this very day, but one thing is for sure – when the Easter moment came for the Apostles they put up a sign that said “gone fishing” and did just that. And they went away from the moment.

When the Easter moment comes for us, not just once but on multiple occasions like it did for the Apostles, do we still only behold it once and then proceed to put up a “gone fishing” sign within our hearts?

We must realize that if we do this we will go out into the boat, and, like the Apostles, we will catch nothing!

We must keep the Easter moment replaying in our hearts like a broken record to help heal our broken hearts.

We must keep the Easter moment playing out through our actions after we receive the Easter Bread of the Eucharist, so that through the small moments of charity we create for our neighbor we will make little Easter moments in the world.

So go!

Re-read the resurrection accounts in the Bible,

Look up videos on how we know Jesus really rose from the dead – anything that will help you keep the moment real over the remaining weeks of Easter.

So keep making this moment real for you as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Only then will you even be equip to start fishing.

And the “fishing” we will do is for sinners, not sardines, for the troubled, not trout.

But it is only with Jesus at the shore of our hearts that we will catch anything at all.

So “Ordinary Time” after Easter is just a Catholic way of saying “fishing season.”

St. Peter, get the net.