“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They replied ‘We will come with you’.”

John 21:3

Easter Friday, 9 April 2021

Acts 4:1-12; John 21:1-14

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the religious authorities are annoyed with the apostles who, as far as they were concerned, were not educated in religious matters yet proclaimed Christ. They summon them and ask them by whose authority they speak. Peter jumps in and offers a sermon. Notice that the boldness of Peter is because he is “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

There is a stark contrast between Peter in the first reading and the gospel we read today. In John’s gospel we meet Peter who seems defeated. His way of coping with the death of Jesus is to return to his former life as a fisherman. His companions share his sense of loss and so they too are easily convinced to return to their former ways. We can do this too when we feel tired, lonely or defeated. We can give up on the journey we have begun and slip back into former ways of doing things.

Then Jesus appears on the scene – of course, they don’t recognise him. The same happens to us when we feel tired, lonely or defeated. We too can easily not recognise the Lord in our midst. Notice how, despite their inability to recognise the Lord, he still acts by giving them an abundance of fish. The same happens to us. Even when we think God is absent, the Lord still gifts us. They catch nothing alone. With Jesus, they catch more than they could have ever imagined. Perhaps there is a time in your own life when looking back, you see that the Lord has acted and gifted you despite your inability to recognise his presence.

When he hears it is the Lord, Peter is emboldened and forgets his companions and the haul of fish and jumps into the water and races towards the Lord. He is now so focussed on the Lord that he forgets the task at hand and leaves his companions to do all the work. Notice how it is the beloved disciples who nudges Peter and tells him it is the Lord. In our lives too there are those who nudge us and, in so doing, help us recognise the Lord when we cannot ourselves. Suddenly Peter’s hope has been restored, his sense of defeat has been overturned.

What do you do when you feel tired, lonely or defeated? Are you tempted to abandon your faith and slip back into former ways of doing things, ways you know are not helpful to you?

In these days of resurrection, consider those who may have nudged you and helped you see the Lord when you did not recognise him. Can you name them? Pray for them today.

Lord Jesus,

When I feel tired, lonely or defeated, I can so easily give up.

Thank you for those in my life that nudge me to keep going.

Thank you for those who help me recognise how you are at work in my life.

Amen.

 
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
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