The Disillusioned Apostles Are Reassured
Friday of Octave of Easter in Eastertide
Acts. 4:1-12 & Jn. 21:1-14
Bewildered by recent events and wondering what to do with their lives, the apostles decided to go fishing again in today's Gospel reading. After a fruitless night a man they did not at first recognise appeared on the shore and helped them to catch a huge haul of fish. When John realised that it was Jesus he pointed this out to Peter. Peter was so excited that he jumped into the water and waded ashore, to find Jesus preparing a breakfast of fish and bread.
The Gospel writers go out of their way to insist that the Risen Christ was not a vision, nor an hallucination, nor a spirit, but a real living person. The tomb was empty and the risen Lord had a real body still bearing the marks of the nails in His hands and feet and the lance thrust into His side. Although the apostles had seen and touched Jesus when He came to them in Jerusalem, it seems that they still needed convincing later that He had risen from the dead. Perhaps they were confused by His appearances and disappearances. Even though Jesus had promised to see them in Galilee they did not quite know what to expect next.
The miraculous catch of fish must have proved to the apostles that Jesus was still with them. But surely the most conclusive evidence was not the laden fishing net but the homely details of the breakfast being prepared on the shore. A vision or spirit would not be able to light a fire, cook a meal and then share it. The story makes it clear that Jesus had risen from the dead and was alive again. The resurrection was not a dream nor an illusion; Jesus had truly conquered death and had come back to life.
He met His friends once again where it had all begun, by the Sea of Galilee, and they had a simple meal together as they must have done so many times before. The apostles' faith in the resurrection was strengthened and very soon, as today's first reading tells us, they were out preaching and healing in the name of the Risen Jesus. How do we experience the presence of the Risen Lord? Are we aware that He is waiting to meet us in our prayers, in our daily work, in the people around us?
Lord Jesus, help us to make a conscious effort to recognise You in our daily lives and, like John, to point You out to others.