Meditations and Prayers for Lent and Easter

The Third Sunday of Easter:
a God of Surprises

by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Acts 5:27-32,40b-41; Revelations 5:11-14; Jn 21:1-19


Jesus and Peter
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. John 21:6

According to John’s gospel, after the Passover in Jerusalem and the momentous happenings of Easter, Peter and some other disciples went home to Galilee and their fishing boats. On the familiar waters of the lake they knew so well, they went fishing.

But after a night when they caught no fish, common sense told them it was time to sail for home.

Then, they heard the voice of Jesus, telling them to throw their nets over the boatÕs right side into the waters. Suddenly, the nets filled with fish and the catch was so large that the disciples could hardly bring it ashore.

When they reached land, Jesus had a charcoal fire burning with fish on it and bread, and he invited them to eat.

Does the story suggest the surprising riches that Jesus, our Risen Lord, offers us, even when common sense tells us to expect little or nothing? Certainly, his gifts surprised his disciples at the end of that fruitless night.

In the mystery of his resurrection, Jesus reveals that life conquers death. But he also brings new dimensions to our lives beyond human plans and expectations. The Risen Lord is a God of surprises.

And, as we see in his encounter with Peter, he is a God of surprising love.

Lord,
you turned to Peter at the lakeside
and asked “Do you love me?”

We answer with him “Yes, Lord, we do,”
but our love is so small and measured.

Far beyond our love for you, though,
is your love for us
and it is our only hope.

You created a rock
from a weak and sinful man.
Create in us a loving heart,
and give us a new spirit.
Illustration from an altar painting by Konrad Witz, 1444

May the Passion of Jesus Christ Be Always in Our Hearts

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