“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:3)
Our Gospel passage today concludes with the statement: “This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.” This means that before this fishing episode, Jesus had appeared to his disciples twice. Seeing the Risen Jesus was not enough to convince Peter and the other disciples that their only task was now to fish for men.
The failure of these disciples that night became a blessing in disguise. It was important that they failed so that it would become clear to them that they had a more important assignment than the business of catching fish.
The last time Peter had this experience, Jesus borrowed his boat to preach and told Peter to let down his nets for a catch. Peter protested because he had worked all night and caught nothing. When he eventually let down the nets, he pulled such a large number of fish that he called other boats to assist in hauling the fish in. (Luke 5:1-7)
This time around, the Risen Jesus stood on the beach and called out to Peter and the other disciples telling them to try one more time. When they did, they netted such a huge catch of fish that signalled supernatural intervention. They knew it was the Lord.
John tells us they were a hundred and fifty-three fish. Note that this was the number of the known nations of the world as at that time. It was a reminder to Peter that: “Henceforth you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10).
Dear friends, if God has called you to full-time ministry, do not worry about where the next meal would come from. He surely knows how to provide.
In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus said to us: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Do not be on the river trying to catch fish when you should be catching men. You will catch nothing. Avoid having double minds when it comes to the work of God. In today’s first reading, Peter is no longer worried about food, money or clothing. He is not even worried about his own life. He boldly addresses those who killed Jesus:
¬“Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.” (Acts 4:10-11)
Peter ended his message by saying: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Dear friends, we may be successful in business, in academics, in whatever area of life, but if we don’t have Jesus, we are nothing! In fact, God can allow us to fail in these other aspects of life just to draw us to Himself, to show us that He alone is all we need.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my trust in your Divine Providence. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 4:1-12, Psalm 118 and John 21:1-14).