Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 Revelation 5:11-14 John 21:1-19
The scene in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles evokes memories of Jesus’ trial in the Gospels. This is the author’s intention, so as to show clearly the link between what Jesus did, what the apostles are doing, and what we are called to do for the sake of the Name. Just as Jesus spoke the truth of the message of salvation before the high court, so Peter and the apostles fearlessly proclaim their witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. How easy it would have been to lie, to deny Jesus; they would have escaped with their good name. Yet they understood that denying Jesus meant losing everything. They would lose not only themselves, but also the Christian community that was just beginning to come together. They took their stand to show other members of the church of Christ that the Good News is indeed a truth worth living for—and dying for.
John’s Gospel also echoes an earlier Gospel scene, the scene of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Jesus goes out with the disciples to fish, as he must have done many times during his life. And they catch so many fish, it seems as if they have caught all the fish in the world. Then Jesus offers Peter another chance, and this time Peter does not fail. “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you” (John 21:15). And Jesus explains the cost of that love. For Peter is being charged with tending the sheep, catching the fish. Following Jesus means not just living the Good News, but spreading the word. It means forming and tending communities, building and spreading the church of Christ throughout the world. That’s Peter’s mission, and by virtue of our baptism it’s our mission as well. We are called to live and proclaim the Good News of salvation, to live in a way that builds up the community of Christ. We are called to witness to the world the Christian way of life. We all have to catch the fish and feed the sheep.