May 1, 2022 - The Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
It is hard to believe that we are already approaching the Third Sunday of Easter. The scripture readings focus on the new life that the apostles are witnessing, of God’s love and Jesus’ Resurrection. This witness and proclamation didn’t happen without very negative reactions of the court leaders and the Sanhedrin. However, we learn that the apostles left the court rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit urges them on to proclaim that Jesus is “the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” St. John sees this rejoicing as a foretaste of heaven.
In the Gospel, John speaks of the moving incident where Peter and some of the disciples gather in the boat and set out to fish during the night. We are told that they caught nothing. The darkness of night does not last forever; the glory and light of the dawn reveals the resurrected Christ standing on the shore. However, Peter and the disciples do not recognize Jesus. He instructs them to cast their net into the sea one more time and they do catch an immense number of fish. It is only then that John initially recognizes Jesus and says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” They bring the large catch of fish to the shore, and what does the Resurrected Christ do? He fixes breakfast for them! He not only cooks the fish but also gives them bread. It is only then that they truly recognize the Risen Christ.
Jesus is not finished yet. He now confronts Peter three times with the question, “Do you love me?” Remember that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on the night before his crucifixion. This gave Peter the opportunity to say, “Lord, you know everything: you know that I love you.” And Jesus’ response, “Feed my sheep” is a good reminder for all of us that when we pray to the Lord, “You know that I love you,” we are also called to “Feed my sheep” in the manner that we show love, mercy and compassion for those we live with, in our families, our work places, our parishes and communities. In what ways can we bring the Risen Lord to others?
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“This, then, is the good zeal which(we) must foster with fervent love: (We) should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another… Let (us) prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life” Chapter 72, Verse 3-6 & 11
“Christ is risen, creator of all; He has shown pity on all people.”