Mass Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41; Revelation 5: 11-14; John 21:1-19
We are now celebrating the wonderful fifty days between our Lord’s resurrection and the marvelous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday–events carefully spelled out for us by the Church. During these fifty days the Church lives in the present world as if we were in the world of the resurrection to come. During these fifty days, we are truly sons and daughters of the resurrection, as if anticipating that life we are called to live by God. These days of Easter are a reminder for us of where God intends us to be. Do I know where God intends me to be? In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places; otherwise how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you? I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am, you also may be (John 14:2-3).
This resurrection appearance of Jesus to the apostles related by St. John in today’s Gospel illustrates so well what I have been talking about. Here are fishermen going about their business, doing a job they are good at. Life has to go on. But through no fault of their own, their efforts fail completely. They have fished all night but caught nothing. Someone they don’t recognize tells them to try once more. Why bother? It’s time to quit! What does some stranger know? But they try anyway.
Why do they try again? What moves their hearts, even without understanding it, to do what this stranger says? Suddenly John cries out, It is the Lord! In an instant, everything has changed. No one wants to ask him who he is. They don’t know but they do know. It is the Lord.
In my life, why do I try again? What makes me, in spite of myself, agree to give it one more try when things seem hopeless? Only grace. Only the Spirit’s impulse within my heart, God’s gentle nudge. I could have refused–but thank God I didn’t! Like the apostles, I can say afterwards: it was the Lord. I had not recognized him but he was there; I was not alone even if I didn’t recognize him. Here is a lesson we can all take to heart: it is the Lord. The Lord is with me, though I do not recognize him. He moves me to act, though I don not know why. Afterward we know, and that is enough.
These are the days of the resurrection–and not just these fifty days of Easter time. Could we not say that all days, following Jesus’ rising from the dead, are days of the resurrection? –even though we do not know it and we do not recognize him. In time I can come to recognize him. I can learn to gradually sense him here with me. When I have come to learn, this I might then hear his question to me, deep in my heart: Do you love me? Can I dare to say with Peter, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. If am am fortunate enough to truly say, Yes, Lord I love you, he is sure to say to me, Follow me. Then, what do I do?