The National Catholic Review
Third Sunday of Easter (C), April 25, 2004
“Come, have breakfast” (Jn 21:12)

Not too many people serve grilled fish for breakfast—smoked maybe, but not grilled. But who would turn it down if Jesus was the one offering it? Bread and fish. Not unlike the meal he earlier served to the large crowd on the mountainside (Jn 6:9-11). Both times he astonished the disciples. Unfortunately we may know the stories too well to be astonished. If this is the case, then we may not understand them at all.

This Easter season provides us with readings that focus on some aspect of the Resurrection. Today we actually consider two dimensions of this mystery: the wondrous character of the risen Lord and the effect our own transformed lives can have on others.

In the vision recounted in the reading from Revelation, John tells of the lamb who receives “power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” It is this same lamb who reveals himself at the Sea of Tiberias. The disciples knew that Jesus was dead, but here he was, alive and serving them breakfast. One has to wonder, after he rose from the dead, why did he linger on earth? Why not return to God and leave these fishermen to resume the occupation to which they had returned? No, the risen Lord had something else in mind for them.

Jesus first fed these awestruck men, and then he told them, “Feed my lambs...tend my sheep...feed my sheep.” Though in the story this commission is directed to Peter, others share in the ministry of leadership to which it refers. This is true today as well. Some do in fact carry the heavy burden of church leadership, but they do not carry it alone. Parish councils, directors of educational, liturgical, or other pastoral ministries all care for the “flock of Jesus.” In the reading from Acts we see the importance of both teaching and witnessing. We all teach, some formally, others informally. And we all give witness by the way we live.

If the stories about the risen Lord no longer astonish us, the implications of the resurrection in our lives well may. It is not enough to proclaim: I believe! We have all been called to witness to that faith. Whether we realize it or not, our daily lives cry out as loudly as did the preaching of the apostles. This includes our interactions with family members and neighbors, companions in the workplace and sales personnel, even strangers on the bus or train. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus influences the decisions that we make about everything in life. Jesus extends the invitation: “Follow me.” Our manner of living reveals how we have responded.

Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., is professor of biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-42; Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-13; Rv 5:11-14; Jn 21:1-19

• How does your life proclaim that Christ is alive?

• People of which nation, race or tongue have you kept at a distance?

• What might you do to make the “flock of Jesus” more inclusive?

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