HOMILY FOR FRIDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: That Night, They Caught Nothing
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any fish?’ They answered him, ‘No.’” (John 21:3-5)
In our Gospel passage today, we see how Simon Peter even after the resurrection of Jesus could not resist the temptation to return to his fishing career out of which Jesus had initially called him.
This temptation is well and alive today among God’s ministers; the temptation to return to or establish a business venture alongside the work of God. Like Peter, many men and women of God find themselves at a crossroad, not knowing whether to give themselves entirely to their calling (thereby having to cope with poverty; not having enough) or to venture into business which eventually becomes a second Master dragging for space and attention.
Peter’s experience was quite unique. God blessed him with failure that night as a reminder that his true calling was not fishing but the salvation of souls. This was the second time now that Peter and his team would toil all night only to catch nothing. This was the second time Jesus would instruct him to let down the nets only to catch a great multitude of fish.
In fact, this particular time, John gives the precise number of fish caught as “a hundred and fifty-three” the number of the nations of the world as at that time. Basically, Jesus used this experience to re- echo what He had earlier said to Peter: “Henceforth you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10).
Jesus invited the disciples to have breakfast. By sharing a meal with Him, Jesus practically communicated his forgiveness of them as well as reassure them once again that He was not just a ghost but fully alive with flesh and blood. This experience would have such a lasting effect in the minds of the disciples especially on Peter who never for once ventured back to fishing.
In today’s first reading, we see Peter fully rising up to his call. He was no longer having two minds about the work of God. He was now prepared to suffer whatever comes his way for the sake of preaching the Gospel. Peter stood up to address the rulers and elders and scribes who were gathered in Jerusalem concerning the cripple who was cured by the Beautiful Gate. Peter made them understand that this was by the power of Jesus whom they had crucified.
Peter ended his message by saying: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Having sought salvation from material pursuits and failed, Peter was truly speaking from experience. In truth, we can never find salvation in anyone else other than in Jesus Christ.
Dear friends, it is not easy to depend entirely on God to provide one’s need especially when you know you have all it takes to work or do business and succeed. This is the challenge of living under the vow of poverty for the sake of God’s work. It only takes faith to realize that God knows what you need and God is capable of providing it in His own way.
For the rest of us who may not be in the shoes of Peter or the disciples, this experience also teaches us that without God, we cannot succeed in anything whatsoever. We should never depend on our strength alone but learn to always call on God whenever we go out to labour for our daily bread.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my trust in your Divine Providence. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of Easter Octave. Bible Study: Acts 4:1-12, Psalm 118 and John 21:1-14).