A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE “C” – MAY 5TH, 2019 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I suppose that none of like to be embarrassed when it comes to our work, when it comes to what we do, or when it comes to what we know about, or what we specialize in. It makes it worse. It makes it that much more embarrassing! We all have our pride and our dignity. And we can all be humbled once in a while, but oh how much more it hurts, when it’s at work, or at school, or at our place of business, or even in our own homes. But none of us are perfect. And sometimes we all make mistakes. It’s the teacher who after grading hundreds of papers, marks an answer wrong, when it is really right. It’s the professional chef who forgets to put the chicken in his famous chicken and vegetable soup. It’s the plumber who forgets to pressure test the pipe that he has just put together, BEFORE he turns the water back on. It’s the priest who goes on the Communion call and then gets there and remembers that he has forgotten to bring Communion. Embarrassing! Terribly embarrassing! Not that I would know anything about that last one.
Poor St. Peter, just a few months ago, we read about the call of Peter. We know that he was fishing, and that he had been hard at it all night. We know that he and his companions had caught nothing the whole time. We know that in the morning, as they are washing their nets, and cleaning their boats, and getting ready to head home for some rest, that Jesus shows up and wanted to use Peter’s boat to preach out of it. Peter, even before he was St. Peter, was a nice guy, and so he let Him. And at the end of Jesus’ little homily, He asked St. Peter to put back out into the water for another try. And man, St. Peter’s pride must have been burning. Here was this carpenter, who surely was sleeping all night, while Peter had been trying to catch fish, and He shows up and tells the professional fisherman how to do his job. Peter must have been livid! But Peter, again because he was basically a nice guys, put back out into deeper waters for a catch. He may have been mumbling under his breath, he may have been thinking terrible things about this carpenter and terrible words that he might like to say, but Peter does what he is told. And he is rewarded with this massive catch of fish. That catch of fish changed Peter’s life. It scared him. It inspired him. It challenged him to leave everything and go and follow Jesus! Now, this was a few months ago. A lot has changed in our Gospel story since then.
Today, it is after the Resurrection. Peter and the Apostles have gone back to Galilee, from Jerusalem, as they had been instructed to do. The promise was that if they went back to Galilee they would see the Risen Jesus again. They get there first, and there’s this period of waiting, that they have, until the Risen Jesus shows up. They are waiting on Jesus. So, what are they going to do? Watch Netflix or play Fortnite on their phones? No, they are going right back to what they did before: they are going fishing! And this is so, déjà vu! And just like before, the fisherman seems to have lost his touch! They had been fishing for a while, and they had caught nothing.
And once again, Peter’s pride is probably hurt. He is embarrassed. They have no fish. But Peter had to appreciate the irony of Jesus showing up again, and getting to teach the fishermen how to fish! Maybe it was funnier the second time around. But it is when this guy shows up on the shore that they don’t even know at first, and He tells them to try again, and He tells them exactly how to catch a bunch of fish, and with that, they recognize the Risen Lord and they have breakfast with Him.
St. Peter always had pride issues. He didn’t want his feet washed. He tried walking on water. He wanted to build tents at the Transfiguration. He cut the ear off the guy in the Garden of Gethsemane. He denied Jesus three times before He died. And today, we hear St. Peter’s reconciliation with Jesus. Three times, Jesus asked him, “Do you love me?” And all three times St. Peter said ‘yes’ and was given penance – feed my sheep, tend my flock, follow me!
Guys, as I mentioned at the beginning, we ALL have pride issues! Our pride can get all of us into a whole lot of trouble. We need to learn humility. ALL of us do! And until then, most especially in our relationship with God, we also have to learn reconciliation. We need to be forgiven for the times we have denied Christ. And how do we do that? Well, today we take care of His sheep. And we feed His flock. And we take responsibility and leadership. And we follow Him with our whole lives, wherever He leads us!
Today the Risen Jesus challenges us, just as He challenged St. Peter, to get back on track and to be the leaders that Jesus knows that we can be. He’s not trying to embarrass us. He just needs us. And we need Him. Let us lose our pride and vanity, as we follow His way!
May God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!