1 Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”
They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.
5 Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
6 He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.
9 When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
The overarching message of the Gospel of John is that God has an abundance of love. John ends with a miracle of abundance reminiscent of the start of his account. The first miracle of Jesus was at the wedding in Cana when there was more wine than could be consumed at the celebration. Now there are more fish than could be consumed at the breakfast on the beach. Between these two miracles is another, the feeding of the 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.
Can’t you just imagine the disciples in the boat, having fished all night, tired, exhausted, and hungry, being asked “Children, have you caught anything?” All they can say is a forlorn “Noooooo…..” When the stranger says, “try the other side of the boat,” they’re too exhausted to argue, so they toss it over to the right side. As the fish begin to fill the net, they all come to life and jump into action, as well-seasoned fishermen would do. They haul the fish into shore and know they have witnessed yet another miracle, a miracle made possible only by their Lord. The abundant gifts of God come in all shapes and sizes, and often when we least expect them.
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
During the current health crisis, we have become very aware of the shortage of Protective People Equipment, respirators and even hospital beds. We gasp in horror at the idea of not having enough lifesaving equipment for all that need it. The thought that some hospitals must choose who receives the ventilator and who doesn’t is beyond our comprehension. Perhaps it’s when we, like those disciples, are too tired and exhausted to do anything more that we will be ready to listen to the Risen Christ who says, “try the other side of the boat.”
Prayer: Abundant, Loving Lord, you call us “children” and ask us to listen to your voice. In this time of great human struggle, quiet the noise in our heads and open our hearts to your creative voice filled with possibilities. Strengthen those who are trained to care for the sick and dying and keep them safe. Grant wisdom and patience to those who are researching possible answers and those who are working hard to supply the medical community with the tools they need. Comfort those who are sick, those who are dying, and those whose loved ones have passed on to be with you. May the promise of new life give us hope in this time of trial. Amen.