“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some” (John 21:6)
While we are two Sundays removed from Easter Day, we should have it in our minds that Easter is not a celebration of a past event. The Easter appearance stories proclaim a beginning. In this week’s readings, that new beginning is for the disciples — and Peter in particular, as well as for Saul, now called Paul. Where Jesus leaves off, the church begins.
Like the disciples, it is easy to get caught up in the old routine way of life again. With the Easter Alleluias fading and the joy and beauty of Easter morning growing dim, it may seem illogical to still be thinking about the life-changing power of the resurrection. After all, the culture around us has long ago put away the colored eggs and chocolate bunnies.
But the appearance of Jesus to the disciples and their actions in placing their nets where there hadn’t been any fish seems illogical. Faith is not always about doing what is logical. It is about stepping out and taking risks. That is how we grow as Christians. The disciples took a risk, following the direction of Jesus to throw out their nets. They did not care how ridiculous they looked even after a night of empty nets. Looking at all those fish, they came to recognize Jesus .
As we take risks, stepping forth in faith we will come to recognize Jesus’ presence more fully in our lives. Jesus will define our mission and ministry, our call to be fishermen and women of today. The net never breaks. There is always room for more. As fisherfolk, our behavior at times may seem illogical. Jesus loved us enough to die for us. To many that appeared to be illogical behavior. The unbroken net of Jesus’ love is there to protect us when it becomes dangerous to be a disciple, especially when we do illogical things.
The reading from Acts points out to us several important theological themes present in Paul’s conversion experience. What happened to Paul on the Damascus Road was the central and transformative moment of his life. First, Paul is not called conceptually, that is, by teachings, doctrines, or religious images, but by the person of Jesus himself. Paul is not called to leave Judaism and become a follower of the Way (vs. 2), but rather to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. In making his decision, Paul recognizes that Jesus, the crucified, is now alive and is addressing him personally. This is true of every calling, every conversion. Christianity is not a religion about Jesus; it is Jesus himself and the complete act of God that takes place in and through his person.
Look It Up
Eucharistic Prayer A: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again” brings the Easter event to the present and, at the same time points to the future.
Think About It
Nowhere in the gospels do the disciples catch fish without Jesus’ help.