I’m running a day late with my Easter week meditations. Wednesday’s Gospel reading is taken from John 21:1-14 and is the account of where Jesus appeared to the disciples while they were coming in from a night of fishing – and had caught nothing, by the way. Imagine fishing all night – after the death of Jesus, the message of the empty tomb, and no clear picture (yet) of what was going to happen moving forward. You can’t blame Peter and his friends for going back to doing what they did before – thinking (I’m sure) that we might as well get busy making a living as this “Jesus thing” didn’t work out. And yet, Jesus wasn’t going to let go of them that easy.
John records how Jesus called out to them from the shore – asking if they had had any luck. Evidently they didn’t, so He told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Any fisherman worth his salt in Jesus’ day understood that night was the best time to catch your haul. After all the fish couldn’t be frightened off by the shadow of the boat. That’s when they’re ready to be plucked from the water. That night gave them nothing, however, and the sheer craziness of Jesus’ suggestion to throw the nets out again just as the sun was rising – who would do something like that? And yet, as we read in the ‘rest of the story’ the nets were filled to the point of bursting – 153 fish in all – and the disciples realized that the man on the shore was indeed their Risen Saviour and Friend – Jesus.
We might be tempted to give up on our faith, our hope, and our confidence during a trial like ours. And yet, the message of our Resurrected Lord is the same. He has a purpose and a mission for His Church (that’s us) regardless of how futile things might seem – and He continues to be there with us in order to guide and lead us into new ventures along the way.
Like the first disciples, we too are easily distracted from keeping our eyes on Jesus when life gives us lemons. We get weighed down with fears, dissapointed expectations, worries and the like and, in the process, we forget that Jesus has already stepped into the middle of those times and circumstances in order to be present with us – even in those times and seasons of our lives when we feel the most alone. And He comes there to speak hope, to sit down and eat with us (that is the Lord’s Supper, after all), and to reshape and redirect our focus again (and again) to those things that He has called us to do. And our lives and situations today are no different, when you think about it.
God has blessed us with the gift of time – time to pray – time to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures – time to encounter our inner demons – and so much more. But we do this – never alone – but together with the same Jesus who broke open the bonds of death, who embraced us with His life, who clothed and hid us in Himself in the waters of our Baptism, and who continues to work and interceded mightily for us before our Heavenly Father – each and every moment of the day and night.
So what can we say? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry about the lack of fish. Don’t worry about tomorrow for our Heavenly Father knows what we need. Instead, rejoice in our Risen Saviour, our daily bread, and look with anticipation and joy to what new (ad)ventures of faith that He has in store for us. His mercies, after all, are new every morning. And He won’t let us down.