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News & Resources

Gospel Reflection: May 5, 2019 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

May 4, 2019

John 21: 1-19

The Gospel reading for the Third Sunday of Easter begins with seven disciples with seemingly nothing to do but still sorting out the recent events of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection. Because it is a familiar, and perhaps comforting activity, Peter suggests that they go fishing. Despite fishing all night, they catch nothing. Similar to the great catch described in Luke’s Gospel, when they cast their nets as directed by Jesus (in the guise of a kindly stranger), the haul is overwhelming.

This Gospel reading is rich with points to ponder:

  • Recognizing Christ in the kindly stranger as well as in the person giving unsolicited advice
  • Collaborating with Jesus to become “fishers of others” – welcoming them into participation in building up the Kingdom of God
  • Expressing our connectedness to one another through preparing and sharing a meal – an image of the Eucharist

While eating fish for breakfast might seem strange to Americans, it is common in many other parts of the world. During my visits to Poland, it was not unusual to have smoked fish and tomatoes for breakfast. This was actually quite delicious. The meal was enhanced by the fellowship shared with my Polish CSFN Sisters. I am sure that the picnic on the beach that Jesus prepared for His disciples was much the same.

But what caught my attention in this reading were the words of Jesus to Peter at the end of the passage: “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Typically, this sentence is understood as a reference to Peter’s crucifixion, but could it not also describe the aging process? The freedom, energy and impetuosity of youth gives way to the responsibility of adulthood and ultimately to “old age” when individuals possibly need assistance in meeting their basic needs. Yes, this stage is a cross for them and perhaps even their caretakers; but, it is also the way these individuals are called to glorify God. Although there may be several interpretations of these words of Scripture, in all circumstances of life we are called to recognize God present and at work – in small events and in great ones!

Blessings in this Easter Season!

Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz CSFN

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