Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
April 22, A.D. 2007
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:
As our fifty-day journey from Easter to Pentecost continues, we find that Peter is the central figure of both the first reading and the third. One of the most touching scenes in the New Testament unfolds in today's account from John's Gospel.
Peter is back at his old occupation of fishing. Six others, including John himself, agree to go with him. As they sit in the dark through the long night, nothing much is happening. Then, as the dawn breaks, they hear a voice across the waters calling to them: "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" As they reply "No," the voice suggests that they try the right side! When their nets strain from the huge haul, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is the first to recognize that the voice comes from the risen Lord.
As Peter immediately swims to shore, dawn's early light reveals a charcoal fire with bread prepared for breakfast! After a breakfast of broiled fish, there is silence. Peter must have been troubled and embarrassed. What will Jesus say to him? With great delicacy, Jesus merely says, "Peter, do you love me more than these?" Peter, eager to reinstate himself with the Master, firmly replies that he does love Him.
Jesus' commission to Peter is prompt: "Feed my lambs." The other disciples surely get the implication. Jesus is gently prompting Peter to atone for his threefold denial in the courtyard with a threefold atonement and promise of loyalty now.
The primacy of authority that Jesus bestows on Peter at the seashore is amply demonstrated by Peter's amazing eloquence in preaching and his firm leadership of the early community following the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The word explosion doesn't come near describing the enthusiastic behavior of the apostles and other disciples once they are convinced that Jesus is totally alive in both Spirit and Flesh.
The outrage and swift reaction of the Jewish Sanhedrin to the spread of Christianity has been repeated over and over again even to our own times. Whenever the real Truth of Jesus' teaching challenges our pleasure-seeking culture, with all of its unjust exploitation of the weak and defenseless, prison doors open to suppress those who pose a danger to the status quo.
We are not meant to be comfortable followers of Jesus. We are meant to be faithful and active lovers of His Truth. That is the real joy of Easter!
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(pwhitmore29 at yahoo dot com)
Third Sunday of Easter
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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