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Liturgical day: Sunday 3rd (C) of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 5:27b-32.40b-41): When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, «We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us».

But Peter and the apostles said in reply, «We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him». The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
Responsorial Psalm: 29
R/. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, o Lord, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.

Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.

Hear, o Lord, and have pity on me; o Lord, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; o Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
2nd Reading (Rev 5:11-14): I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: «Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing». Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: «To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever». The four living creatures answered, «Amen», and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Verscicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. Christ is risen, creator of all; he has shown pity on all people. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Jn 21,1-19): Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Lake of Tiberias. He appeared to them in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas who was called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together; and Simon Peter said to them, «I'm going fishing». They replied, «We will come with you» and they went out and got into the boat. But they caught nothing that night.

When day had already broken, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus called them, «Children, have you anything to eat?». They answered, «Nothing». Then he said to them, «Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some». When they had lowered the net, they were not able to pull it in because of the great number of fish. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, «It's the Lord!». At these words, «It's the Lord», Simon Peter put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and jumped into the water. The other disciples came in the boat dragging the net full of fish; they were not far from land, about a hundred meters.

When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, «Bring some of the fish you've just caught». So Simon Peter climbed into the boat and pulled the net to shore. It was full of big fish —one hundred and fifty-three— but, in spite of this, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, «Come and have breakfast», and not one of the disciples dared ask him, «Who are you?» for they knew it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and He did the same with the fish.This was the third time that Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after rising from the dead.

After they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, «Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?». He answered, «Yes, Lord, you know that I love you». And Jesus said, «Feed my lambs». A second time Jesus said to him, «Simon, son of John, do you love me?». And Peter answered, «Yes, Lord, you know that I love you». Jesus said to him, «Look after my sheep». And a third time He said to him, «Simon, son of John, do you love me?», Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, «Do you love me?» and he said, «Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you». Jesus then said, «Feed my sheep. Truly, I say to you, when you were young you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will put a belt around you and lead you where you do not wish to go». Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And he added, «Follow me».

«Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’»

Fr, Jaume GONZÁLEZ i Padrós
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, 3rd Sunday of Easter, we contemplate another apparition of Christ Resurrected, this time after evangelist Joan's most impressive chapter twenty first, all of it full of sacramental references, totally alive for the Christian community of that first generation, the same one that collected the evangelical testimony of the very Apostles.

After the Easter events, the Apostles seemed to go back to their usual chores, as if they had forgotten the Master had transformed them into “fishers of men”. A mistake the Evangelist willingly admits when he says that —despite having tried their best— «they caught nothing that night» (Jn 21:3). It was the disciples' night. All the same, the appearance, at dawn, of the Lord completely overturned everything. Simon Peter, that had previously taken the responsibility for the unprofitable fishing, now pulls the net completely full: one hundred and fifty three fishes is the outcome, a figure which is the addition of the numeric values of Simon (76) and of ikhthys (=fish, 77). Quite significant!

And, when, under the glorified Lord's protective gaze and with his authority, the Apostles exert, with Peter's primacy —explicit in the triple avowal of his love for the Lord— their own evangelizing mission, the miracle happens: “they fish men”. If out of their living environment, fish die, human beings also die if nobody brings them out of the darkness and of the asphyxia of an existence away from God and surrounded by absurdity, and take them to the light, the air and the warmth of life. Of Christ's life that He, himself, nourishes from the beach of his Glory, splendid figure of the Church sacramental life and, primarily, of the Eucharist. It is in the Eucharist the Lord gives us personally the bread and, with it, He also gives himself to us, as the presence of the fish suggests; fish, which for the first Christian community, was a symbol of Christ and, therefore a Christian symbol, too.