After all the events of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, the Apostles must have experienced such mixed feelings of emotional and psychological pain. They must have been confused as well, such that it must have been a relief when Simon Peter told them “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” Peter must be trying to return to his previous life, perhaps trying to forget the events of the crucifixion of his Lord. They must have tried at a therapy by doing the ordinary in order to relax their troubled minds.
And then came our merciful Savior in search of His band of frustrated and disappointed disciples in the middle of their “therapy”. He then appeared on the shore and offered them a suggestion of how to catch fish, after being told that they haven’t caught anything. Then after hauling such a huge number of fish, Jesus prepared them a grilled fish breakfast. For Peter, it was followed by a deep and meaningful healing encounter, after the painful realization that he had denied our Lord three times. To clean the slate, Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” three times.
When we are troubled and worried, it is good to go out of ourselves and just do something ordinary and familiar. It gives space and relaxes our minds, and it also rests our broken hearts. It is a way of stopping our tendency to get worried and anxious, but more importantly, it provides Jesus the space to walk into our lives in a way that He can’t do when we are worried and troubled.
Aside from telling us to go into the ordinary, the Gospel also tells of the power of obedience to God’s will and direction in our lives. Jesus illustrates that when we insist to do things on our own designs, we can fail. He shows that when we submit our lives to Him, we will succeed in our mission. We must endeavor to bring others to the Church, as this is an important mission each of us is tasked to do while on earth. Doing it though is only part of the whole mission; we have to be shepherds as well to the lambs and sheep in the fold. Peter, who denied Jesus three times, and who professed his love for the Lord three times as well, was chosen for the quality of his love to serve as leader of the Church. His foremost mission is to care for the sheep and lambs, the weakest and the most vulnerable. And yet, the reward for Peter’s fidelity to his mission is martyrdom. Fr. Armand used to say that many have become martyrs and gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel and the Catholic Church. The saints have seen something precious and important in giving up temporary happiness while on earth, in order to gain Heaven and eternity. They have found the pearl of great price and have made the conscious decision of loving God more than life itself. Just as the Risen Lord commissioned Peter to undertake a mission on His behalf, so the natural consequence of following Jesus requires us to share ourselves and our Faith with others.
Let us pray that our love become pure, and that we won’t succumb to the temptation of denying our Lord. The success of our mission and the depth of our love for God will be measured by our ability to rejoice when we are called to suffer for Jesus. In the end, as long as we remain faithful, we can become like Peter and share the Good News to others, with love for Jesus as our inspiration.