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3rd Sunday of Easter – C

“Easter Joy brings detachment.”

3rd Sunday of Easter – C

            Our readings today give us a glimpse of how similar we are to the disciples. Here they are, on the beach, depressed, wondering what in the world they are going to do with their lives now that Jesus is gone. Perhaps pondering what will come next? How will I move on without him? How do I go on? What can I do? What does all this mean? But notice, they return to the old familiar – fishing. Peter decides that he is going fishing; to take his mind off all that has happened in the last few days. Peter is obviously clinging to his former way of life. Has he forgotten all that Jesus taught them?

            However, when they have fished all night and caught nothing. What is the use? But then Jesus appears a third time and invites them to cast their net off the right side of the boat and they catch 153 fish. Peter’s desire to go fishing is obviously his clinging to his old way of life, his old vocation, because he doesn’t know what to do next. But then something happens. The beloved disciple recognizes Jesus and yells out: “It is the Lord!”

            Jesus’ question to Peter about whether he loves him more than the others can be taken two ways. First, does Peter love Jesus more than the other disciples love him, or if Peter loves Jesus more than he loves the other disciples. Or, if we take the context another way completely, does Peter love Jesus more than he loves his fishing trade?

            But the real reflection here is that Jesus wants Peter to reflect on whether Jesus was more important to Peter than everything else in life. If Peter does love Jesus more than anything in life, the proof is going to be in the action that Jesus invites Peter to care for Jesus’ sheep and lambs.       Notice, Jesus did not say feed your sheep, tend your lambs. Jesus said to Peter feed “my sheep” and “tend my lambs.” There is a calling here for Peter to be more now than just a fisherman.

            During the Easter season, we are invited to reflect on our own relationship with Jesus above everything else in life. Do we absolutely love Jesus above everything else? Or are there ways of life, addictions to things or behaviors that come in the way of being free to do God’s will? Do our qualifications and knowledge become obstacles to our following God’s direction in our lives? Do our distractions keep us from coming here each week and celebrating our faith in Christ?

            As Jesus asked Peter that question three times, he was giving Peter the courage to realize that he could detach himself from his old way of life and become the leader of the disciples, and the church that Jesus wanted him to be.

            As we become detached from all that blocks us from experiencing the grace of Jesus’ spirit in our lives, and as we strive to think about and serve others, lo and behold, we might suddenly become aware that Jesus has something else in store for us, and that our life doesn’t have to seem empty, without meaning or purpose. But full of courage, hope and joy!