”Naturally we all have an inclination to command, and a great aversion to obey; and yet it is certain that it is more for our good to obey than to command; hence perfect souls have always had a great affection for obedience, and have found all their joy and comfort in it.”-Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the Church
Gospel text (Jn 21,1-14):
Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias .
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee ,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
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.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
Peter had given up on Easter. Although Jesus had initially called Peter to be a fisher of men and no longer a fisherman (Mk 1:17), Peter decided to go back into the commercial fishing business. Peter went back to B.C., that is, to his state before He had ever known Christ.
Jesus came to Peter. Instead of punishing him for his disobedience, He blessed Peter with his greatest catch of fish ever (Jn 21:6). Peter repented and jumped ship (Jn 21:7). He quit his job.
That night they caught nothing! And when the day breaks and Jesus appears, they do not recognize him until He asks them for something to eat. When they tell him they have nothing, He just points out where they are to throw their net. And, even though fishermen seem to know all the answers and they had spent the night to no avail, they obey him. «O the power of the obedience. The lake of Tiberias was refusing its fish to Peter's nets. An entire night in vain. —But now, obedient, he returns the net to the water and they caught (...) a full load of fish. —Believe me: the miracle repeats itself daily» (Saint Josemaria).
The Evangelist points out «It was full of big fish —one hundred and fifty-three» (Jn 21:11) but, in spite of being so many, the net was not torn. These are details to bear in mind, as Redemption, amid normal work, takes place with responsible obedience.
They all «knew it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them» (Jn 21:12-13). He did the same with the fish. If we obey him we shall not lack either the spiritual or the material food. He taught this to his closest followers and John Paul II said it too: «When starting the new millennium, our heart reverberates with those words with which Jesus (...) invited the Apostle to put out into the deep, and let down the nets for a catch: ‘Duc in altum’ (Lk 5:4). Peter and the first disciples trusted Christ's word (…) and when they had this done, ‘they enclosed a great multitude of fishes’ (Lk 5:6). This word resounds for us to day too».
With our obedience —like Our Lady Mary's obedience— we ask the Lord to go on giving his Church his apostolic fruits.