Reflection by Catherine Cruz, FMVD (01/05/2022)

Dear friends,

We can take the Resurrection for granted, but Jesus rising from the dead is something amazing, that left the disciples shocked, overwhelmed, startled into joy. The liturgy gives us the whole time of Eastertide to let the surprise sink in.

Like many of Jesus’ appearances to the disciples that the Gospels describe to us, in this Sunday’s Gospel the disciples do not immediately recognise Jesus, and this tells us that the Resurrection is not simply turning back the clock on Good Friday: something has changed, something is new. They go fishing during the night, trying to connect with their old lives, and their experience echoes their first meeting Jesus, that they touch their own emptiness and failure, they don’t catch anything! But the figure on the shore them tells them to cast their nets on the other side and suddenly they have an enormous catch, then the beloved disciple recognises this abundance as a sign of Jesus’ presence. 

Resurrection is a new presence of Jesus, but also there is continuity, it is the same person, the same love.

This reading also includes a gentle and personal conversation with Peter. How did Peter feel, meeting the risen Jesus? Huge relief? A thought perhaps that his denial would be forgotten in the excitement but still carrying the nagging guilt?

Jesus asking him three times ‘Do you love me?’ is a way of saying ‘I forgive you’, giving him the chance to say an ‘I love you’ for each denial. Whatever terror drove Peter to say in the moment, Jesus is interested in what is deep in his heart. And at the same time, he is calling him to move on, the past is past, now is a time to look forward, to take on the responsibilities of caring for the new Community
that is about to be born; ‘Feed my sheep’.

This is part of the newness of the Resurrection, Jesus invites us to express our love for him by caring for his people, his flock. We can reflect on what Peter’s experience says to our own lives: what signs can I see of the Risen Jesus in my own story? Where do I need to experience Jesus’ forgiveness helping me to move on? Who are ‘the Sheep’ that Jesus is entrusting to me?

God bless,
Catherine Cruz, FMVD

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