A reading of the holy Gospel according to John 21:1-19
At that time, Jesus revealed himself 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. “When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.”
The apostles failed to recognize the resurrected Christ in the same way the disciples on the way to Emmaus or Mary Magdalene initially did not recognize Him by the tomb entrance. There must be something mysteriously different about the resurrected body of Jesus Christ. He could not be identified by His closest friends until He acted in specific ways. He called out to Mary and said her name. He instructed the disciples in fishing. He broke bread on the way to Emmaus.
What is certain about these scenarios is that Jesus appeared to the disciples in their sadness; the apostles’ inability to make a catch, Mary’s grief, the disciples lamenting His crucifixion and death. He came to bring the happy news of His resurrection by His very presence!
How common it is that we have also struggled to see the presence of God in our lives in times of deep sorrow. It is true that God is present in all times and all places, but it seems that Our Lord likes to be particularly near to us in our broken-heartedness and pain. His love for us is beyond anything we may imagine or understand. It would seem that a broken heart impoverished of earthly consolation is the heart that has the potential to be closest to Jesus. And so, in its brokenness, it is given a great power: to experience the love of God especially!
Let us take the opportunity to draw nearer to the heart of God.