Third Sunday of Easter John 21:1-19 May 1, 2022

Jesus Calls Us

Jesus after he rose from the dead visited the disciples.  The first time he gave them the Holy Spirit and the ability to forgive sins and help those who are having trouble with their sins.  The second time he appeared to give Thomas a chance to move from belief to trust.

Today they are at the Sea of Galilee fishing.  If I were Jesus, I would be exasperated.  I have given them the gift of the Holy Spirit.  I gave Thomas the gift of trust, and what are they doing?  They have gone back to fishing.

Three weeks ago, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus.  He fed us through the Word, and the Sacrament.  The same happened last week.  How has the resurrection changed your life, or mine, or have we gone back to doing the same old things we were doing before the resurrection?

When Jesus arrives, he is far gentler that I would have been.   Children, you have fished all night and have caught nothing.  “Right!”  Try the other side of boat.  And so, they do and haul in a huge catch.

A reality of life is we sometimes do a true madness.  We do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

The next reality of life is we are most open to Jesus and His guidance when what we have been doing is either a failure or getting us nowhere.

Peter recognizes Jesus and jumps in the water, swims to shore to greet him.

The disciples get the huge catch to the beach.  Jesus has started a fire and asks them to give him a few fish to cook.  They do and Jesus becomes chef and server of a tremendous meal.

He does the same thing here every Sunday as we come to the table where he is the host and he feeds us “life, forgiveness and salvation.”  Jesus just as he did that day uses what we have to bless us.

John then goes out of his way to tell us this is the third time Jesus appeared to them.

Three becomes very important as Jesus takes Peter aside after the meal.  “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  Peter responds, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”  “Feed my sheep.”

For a second time Jesus asks the same question; “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter responds with the same answer.  “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.”  “Tend my sheep.”

Jesus asks the same question a third time.  “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Having been asked a third time Peter is upset.  “Doesn’t Jesus believe me?”

We are reminded when Peter was in the courtyard at the High Priest’s house and he denied even knowing Jesus three times.

“Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”  “Feed my sheep.”

When I hear this encounter, it first challenges me.  Bernie, do you love the fold at St. Michael, including the visitors, and those who don’t even know if they believe.  That has been easy to say when I have been installed or just responded to our Council’s call to be the interim pastor for six months.  But as time goes on and we get to know each other will that still be true?  Bernie, don’t take the call if you are not willing to continue loving your people after the honeymoon is over.  That’s why it is so important to say; “Yes, and I ask God to help and guide me.”  I can’t be your pastor in good times and bad if I am not undergirded by Christ’s love and Spirit.

The same Jesus is asking of you.  Will you love all the family at St. Michael, whether they are lovable or not?  Will you love your pastor once you discover his short comings?  Having lived with me for almost 82 years I know there are some difficult aspects of my personality that are difficult for even me to love.

Yet the risen Lord has promised to give us the power to forgive sins, our own and others.  The risen Lord has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us in our ministry and give us the strength to carry on in good times and bad.

Then Jesus warns both Peter and us that there will be difficult moments in life as we follow him.  He was preparing Peter to be crucified upside down in the Coliseum.  For us I believe he is preparing us for the time when we will not have the strength or mental ability to face the challenges of life and others will have to make those decisions for us.

Even warning Peter and us of the difficult days we are likely to face, he assures us he will be taking us to be with him when our life on this earth has ended.

In the meantime, Jesus is asking each of us.  I have risen.  I have freed you from the power of sin and death.  I have empowered you to make and grow disciples.  Are you willing to fish on the other side of the boat and take the risk of really getting involved in life telling others about me, and calling them to discipleship?

I love how Via de Cristo Ministry puts it:  Make a friend.  Be a friend.  Bring a friend to Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is calling us, even today.  Amen.


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