• Olivia M. Bannan

FRIDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER APRIL 26, 2019


(Duccio di Buoninsegna, 14th century)                           

MASS READINGS: 

A reading of the holy Gospel according to John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
REFLECTION:   "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something. So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish."
Ausfahrt freihalten!!  Keep Clear!!
Corrie ten Boom and her family risked their lives to save the lives of others during the Holocaust. Betrayed by an informant, the Gestapo raided the ten Boom home. Imprisoned, her father and sister died in custody and Carrie ten Boom was in Ravensbrueck  concentration camp in September 1944. She escaped the concentration camp because of a clerical error. All the women in her age group were exterminated a few days later.  Years later while giving a speech on Forgiveness--" When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever," she said as she noticed the man. Carrie ten Boom was met by an ex Nazi guard who was in the audience.  He did not recognize her personally but asked her for forgiveness for the role he played in the atrocities of the concentration camp. She could not and did not want to forgive him. She recognized him as her guard who had humiliated her. She prayed for God to help her. She found the strength and accepted his extended hand.
 " For I had to do it--I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition : that we forgive those who have injured us. 'If you do not forgive men their trespasses, 'Jesus says, 'neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.' "
 The  seven disciples had withdrawn from the public life and went back to being fishermen. They were disappointed, grieving and disillusioned to what just had happened and what they just had done to Jesus. They had their own pit of fear and despair.  Jesus is watching and waiting  from ashore for the disciples who abandoned him. Jesus had addressed them with "Peace be with you" or "Shalom". John realized  it was Jesus, but it was Peter who leapt from the boat and ran towards Jesus. It is remarked that Peter's action was impulsive, but many would say it is the action of a lover running toward their beloved without any concern of how silly or daunting the task was. Imagine, just a few days ago, Peter denied Jesus three times and had let Jesus die alone.
And now Jesus is calling out to him the  same way as when He had performed years ago the "Miraculous draught of fish."  He had searched for and found them. Jesus met them at their lowest weaknesses and failings and offered forgiveness. Jesus ate with the apostles and gave them the peace that only forgiveness could give.
"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart......'Help!' I prayed silently. 'I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.'  And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me.  And as I did, an incredible thing took place.  The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands.  And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ' I forgive you, brother!' I cried. 'With all my heart!' "  (excerpts from "I'm still Learning to Forgive" by Corrie ten Boom)
When God forgives our sins, indeed they are gone forever.   Are we to forgive others? Do we seek the peace of Jesus? If we are to be fishermen for God, we need to forgive and extend peace to those who harm us. 
May our priests encourage all to go to confession.  For those lost in despair, fear, or bitterness, may our priests through their kind words, encourage us to receive God's forgiveness. 
God Bless

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