Thoughts on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Easter (C) 2019

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/050519.cfm           

In our Gospel this Sunday we read of a resurrection appearance by Jesus at the Sea of Tiberias.  We are told that Simon Peter and the other disciples had gone fishing, “but that night they caught nothing.  When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.”    He asked them if they had caught anything and when they said they hadn’t, he told them: “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”   When they were not able to pull the net in because of the number of fish, the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter: “It is the Lord.”   Peter than jumped into the water and swam to shore.  When the other disciples arrived, Jesus fed them with bread and fish.  He then asked Simon Peter three different times:  “Do you love me?”   

Over the years, many explanations have been offered as to why Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Some suggest that it was because Peter had denied Jesus three times.  Others suggest that Jesus wanted Peter to understand not just the importance of the question, but the importance of his answer.   I would like to suggest, though, that perhaps the most important thing about this exchange is that it was only after Peter had declared his love that Jesus gave him a mission:  “Feed/tend my sheep/lambs.”  For Peter, as for us, the things we do in the name of Jesus should come out of our love for Jesus.     

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles.   In it the disciples are brought before the Sanhedrin because in defiance of their orders, they continued to preach about Jesus.  “But Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’”  

Our second reading this Sunday is from the Book of Revelation.   The style of writing in this book is known as apocalyptic literature.  Often it was written during a time of trial/persecution, and it was intended to offer hope and encouragement.  It is not meant to be taken literally.  Rather, it uses vivid imagery and symbolic language to convey the idea that despite the difficulties of the present, God is ultimately in charge.  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever thought God was calling you to do something?   Did you respond to that call out of love for Jesus? 
  2. Have you ever experienced a conflict between obeying God versus men?  
  3. There seems to be a fascination in regard to apocalyptic literature.  Why do you think this is?   
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