By Michelle Schroeder
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We will go with you.” ~John 21:3a
Whether you attend the Easter Vigil or Mass on Easter morning, it’s so easy to feel the true joy of the risen Christ. The flowers, the “Alleluias,” and the uncovered statues of the Saints all assist us in exuding the joy that can only be realized by celebrating the Risen Christ. While Easter doesn’t come to a liturgical end for fifty days, we often stop being overwhelmed by the joy of Easter much sooner. Whether work, shuffling kids to practice, or school, we sink back into our daily obligations. Life has a way of putting a damper on those happy Easter feels. Perhaps we still feel a bit lighter, a bit more hopeful, but all too often, we are not.
Were the Apostles like us?
Today’s Gospel describes a scene we can relate to at this point in the Easter season. In John 21:3, we read, “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.” At this point, Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to them twice already. Yet, I get the feeling when I read this that Simon Peter and the six others that joined him in the boat were going about the tasks of daily life despite experiencing something completely remarkable, something beyond comprehension. I wonder how they could return to any routine chores after seeing the Risen Christ? But then again, how can we? We can certainly understand that the apostles still had to eat or sell fish to provide for their families, just as we have to do our things. But shouldn’t it all be different? Shouldn’t even daily, mundane things like getting groceries somehow be completely changed after encountering Jesus? Yes, yes, they should! But I know I’m not bounding with joy replying to emails or working out carpools. Maybe the apostles weren’t hopping in the boat joyfully either, and perhaps that is why Jesus chose to return to them at that moment.
He Knows What We Need
I can’t begin to guess why Jesus presented himself to his fishermen that morning, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were because he knew they needed an encounter with him. They needed the reminder, the infusion of joy into their lives that only being with Jesus brings. We need that too. We can’t encounter Jesus at Easter and expect the joy to remain if we don’t continue seeing him. But, unlike the Apostles who had to wait for him to come to them, we often have the opportunity to go to Jesus. We can encounter the Lord anytime through prayer. Still, it’s also essential to go to him physically at Mass, where we can experience him in the Eucharist, and to go to an Adoration Chapel and see him in the Blessed Sacrament. Through continued personal encounters with Christ, he will sustain and renew in us the joy of the Resurrection.
Lord Jesus, give us the grace to regularly return to you in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharistic and in Adoration so that we may continue to experience the joy of Easter.
Call to Action
Make every effort to attend at least one daily Mass or spend one hour per week in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
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