Third Sunday of Easter Year C
Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Rev 5:11-14; Jn 21:1-19
Meal, mission and martyrdom are the key words that sum up the central message of the readings of this Sunday. In the second reading, the risen Christ is seen in glory with the Father. He is the Lamb that was sacrificed and who is worthy to be given power, glory and blessing. The whole creation is in worship before the Father and the Son. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the news of the resurrection is spreading rapidly through the preaching of the apostles. They had been warned not to preach in the name of Jesus, but Peter and John having defied those orders, are now before the Council of Elders for questioning. Peter’s answer is a determined conviction in the resurrection. Like the apostles we must be prepared to accept suffering (martyrdom) as we give our witness to the risen Lord.
In the Gospel, Christ the risen Lord, appears once more to his disciples by the sea of Tiberias. They had gone out fishing, but had caught nothing all night. It was now in the morning. Suddenly someone on the shore tells them to throw the nets to the right of the boat in order to catch something. Having done that, they had such a great catch of fish that John the beloved disciple realizes that it is the Lord. To remove all doubts, Jesus invites them to breakfast on the shore. There are three scenes in this account. The first scene is a meal that becomes like a second chance. This meal is a renewal of their resurrection faith in Jesus Christ. In fact that renewal starts already at the miraculous catch of fish as John tells Peter, “It is the Lord.” At the sharing of the meal, the disciples are convinced that it is the risen Lord. At this meal, all the memories of shared meals come back and above all the sacrificial sacrifice on Calvary is very fresh indeed. They even remember how they denied him and ran away. Here was a second chance to renew their commitment to Jesus. At every Sacrifice of the Mass every Sunday, we renew our commitment and faith in Jesus Christ as we share his Sacrificial Meal that He prepares for us. Every Mass is indeed like a second chance. The second scene is the mission of Peter. Jesus asks Peter a threefold question, “Do you love me?” in order to reserve Peter’s threefold denial. Here wonderful forgiveness takes place as Peter responds each time “I do Lord” and Jesus telling him each time “Feed my sheep.” In other words, Peter has to show that love in action; in service by feeding and caring for Christ’s flock. The third scene is about Peter’s death. Jesus foretells his martyrdom, which from the Greek means witness. Peter and all the disciples would indeed die as martyrs because of their witness to Christ. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) The Sacrifice of the Mass, like the meal at the lake shore is second chance for our renewal and recommitment. 2) Through our baptism Christ challenges us like Peter to show our love for Christ by feeding and nurturing Christ’s flock by our action – not mere words; 3) Like the disciples, we too are challenged to be committed witnesses to the point of dying for our faith.
©2013 John S. Mbinda