“They caught nothing.”

A third encounter between Jesus and some disciples is the scene of today’s gospel passage (Jn 21:1-14).  Simon Peter says he is going fishing and six other disciples decide to join him.  After a futile night of fishing (see above), Jesus (at this point unrecognized by them) asks them from the shore if they caught anything.  They respond in the negative, thus prompting Jesus to tell them to cast their nets once more.  The nets are filled to breaking when they do so.  Peter then recognizes Jesus and swims to Him.  By the time the rest come with the catch, Peter and Jesus are already cooking by a fire and Jesus serves them all breakfast.  It is striking that these professional fishermen caught not a single fish after a night of work.  Yet the moment Christ arrives on the scene they can barely handle the number of creatures that filled their net.  Recall that at the beginning of His ministry, when calling the very first of His followers, Jesus told them that they would move from catching fish to catching men (Mt 4:18-22 and Mk 1:16-20).  Peter, James, and John must certainly have recalled this when Jesus, now at the end of His time on earth, again performs a miracle for them.  Jesus reinforces that without Him they can do nothing, they can have no success.  But with Him they can change the world in an instant.  How this must have sustained them through the trials, frustrations, and persecutions they were destined to encounter.  How they must have constantly returned to prayer to sustain them and beg the Lord to fill their nets with converts.  A lesson in humility that perdures.  With God all things are possible (Mt 19:26 and Mk 10:27).  Without Him nothing good can come from our own efforts.  We can be the Lord’s instrument to bring many persons to Him.  Let us imitate the disciples who unhesitatingly heed the Lord’s command thus producing a bountiful yield for Him.

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