Introduction: we are in the final chapter of the Gospel of John 21:1-14, which is an appendix added either by the evangelist of by one the disciples. In this text we will deal mainly around the person of Peter and the beloved disciple and some important symbols that help the disciples to understand and perceive Jesus’s presence.
Fill our hearts with your Love
And make in us place of your rest,
And when we hear the voice of your
Son we may recognise him and come
To Him and stay with him for ever.
Do not let us be departed from you.
1. Read the text John 21:1-14 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
2. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
3. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
4. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
5. Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: This is the last chapter of the Gospel of John where Jesus appears again to his disciples after his resurrection. He appears in the shore of the lake, the shore of their lives, exactly when they most need him to bring them back desolation to consolation, as when they were with him before his death on the cross. Perhaps this could be our experience as we may live in situations of death, defeat, or disappointment. Those moments are crucial because it is where the Lord shows himself unexpectedly. Just open the eyes of your faith and you will find him.
Central Message: “I am going fishing” Peter said … “They caught nothing that night”. “Jesus stood on the shore but they did not recognise him”. “Throw the net out to starboard and you will find something”. It is the Lord”.
a) “I am going fishing”. After Peter being in a situation of desolation and despair, with his mind blocked and confused for what had happened to him and his Master in connection with his denial, he was left with no motivation or initiative to do anything whatsoever. Having no direction or projection for his future he returned back to his old way of life, being a fisherman. That was his ‘comfort zone’ before he met Jesus. The same happened to his companions who wanted to do the same as Peter “We’ll come with you”. Going back to the old way of life is what Jesus does not want, but to loofward to a new life, to new mission to be fishermen of all nations (Mk 1:17).
b) “They caught nothing that night”. It was just as they were before they met their Master, living their life with no meaning, without purpose, with not fruits until they meet the Lord. He trained them and instructed them for three years to be fishers of people, a sufficient time to know well the ins and outs of this Job. But that night something went wrong, perhaps they were out of practice or were not throwing the net properly, for they caught nothing. That night reminded them how boring and hard life was without their Master. They trusted only their efforts, their energy their time without success. And still they continue in desolation as if nothing had never changed in their lives when they meet Jesus.
c) “Throw the net out to starboard and you will find something”. Suddenly the Lord appeared standing on the shore of the lake looking at them, at their struggle and frustration of the whole night. There he was at the shore of their lives coming to their rescue from the desolation and frustration which they were not aware of. The Lord had to come back to them to affirm them that he will never abandon them, but to be with them till the end of time (Mtt 28:20); that he will not leave them orphans but will leave his Spirit who will assist them (Jn 14:18). He came to rescue them from their desolation and frustration to bring them close to him and his caring love. They obey his command “throw” without doubt as if they had heard that voice before, “for I know them and they know my voice” (Jn 10:27). But only one could identify him. So, they caught a huge number of fish that could not haul it in. There their life began to change, from desolation to consolation, from frustration to success, thanks to the Lord the author of those gifts. Let us never doubt that the Lord Jesus will never leave anyone in desolation, sadness or frustration. He always comes to our rescue and to draws us closer to him.
d) “It is the Lord”. Only one of the disciples’ group could recognised their Master: “it is the Lord”. That was he, the disciple Jesus loved, John, the youngest of them all. It was love that could identify the Lord, because he remained in syntony with Jesus’s love from the day he begum to follow Jesus and stay with him (Jn 1:39), to the day when he was faithfully standing at foot of the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus (Jn 19:26). while all the other scattered for fear and betrayal. So, Whoever lives the new commandment given by Jesus: “love one another just as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34) he will dwell in you, and by your love the people will know that your my disciples (Jn 13:35). John kept that love and that love keep him alive because it was Jesus living in him.
Some questions for our reflexion:
1. What does the experience of the apostles say about my own life?
2. How do you respond the Lord’s invitation to do things differently or go in a different direction?
3. How open are you to the Lord when he wants to rescue you from desolation, frustration and sadness?