In today’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. Peter decides to go fishing; the others join him. Maybe they had nothing better to do, or maybe, probably, they were hungry. In any case, they return to what they were doing before they met the Lord and “lost” Him. Jesus meets them on that seashore, reminds them of their mission and of his love and mercy and forgiveness.
The fishing party had been unsuccessful in their catch until they follow Jesus’ instructions: a paradigm for all believers! Their nets were empty until the Lord told them where to cast them. They are successful at fishing this time, and they join Jesus and they eat together—Jesus “breaking the bread” and sharing the fish. (He eats with them because ghosts do not eat, and so He proves His living existence.)
Jesus asks three times (like the cock crowing) if Simon Peter loves Him. Each time He tells Peter what his mission is Jesus also asks if Peter loves Him. In Jesus’ questioning and his answering of Peter, he gives explicit directions to us all: “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.” Jesus tells us clearly that love of Him is expressed by feeding and tending the hungry and lost—great food for thought…
So, where do you cast your nets in order to fish as the Lord instructed? By example and behavior do we cast nets of faith in the communities in which we live, work and play? People are fed and tended by many things; and they are hungry for more than just physical sustenance—they also hunger for spiritual nourishment. If you love Jesus, you must work the mission He gives us.
The Gospel reading ends with the simplest of instructions; yet also the hardest of instructions from Jesus. He says, “Follow me.” Keep casting! Get fishing!
Just a Note: Some songs about following Jesus.