April 14, 2013
Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
The last weeks have been filled with happy excitement. We have a new pope and a new archbishop. In the midst of all this, Easter! All of these are occasions of joy and the celebration seems to have ended. Both Pope Francis and Archbishop Sample have reminded us that their installations are not simply about them but rather about Christ. What should not end is our Easter awareness and the “Alleluia” that is part of our lives.
Our liturgy today reminds us that life was like this for Jesus' first followers, too. In today's Gospel, Peter announces he is going fishing and his friends join him. Fishing is what they would do on a normal day. The disciples don't seem surprised to have fished an entire evening without a catch. The call from the shore was usual too: "Have you caught anything?" It might have been the usual heckler, but it wasn't. It was the Lord.
When Jesus broke out of the tomb he broke into ordinary life. The proof of his resurrection was not in the empty tomb but rather in his presence among them. From now on, "normal" for those first disciples would be continually meeting Jesus in everyday life. And this is how it should be for us.
Each day there are opportunities for encountering Christ in our lives. For the most part, Easter does not change the things we do. It changes the way we look at our activities. Too easily, we can begin to take our faith and Christ’s presence for granted. Our Sunday Eucharist can become a usual activity occurring in response to an obligation. We can begin to take Jesus presence for granted as easily as we become accustomed to the warmth of a spring breeze. This should be the season that inspires us to live in a new way.
The longer version of today's Gospel tells the story of the commissioning of Peter. It calls us to bring resurrection to the world. Our lives do not have the drama of the Second Reading. Neither is there the real physical danger for us that there was for the apostles when we announce Jesus' resurrection. Non-believers are more inclined to ignore us than persecute us.
Each Sunday, though, is a reminder of Easter. It is more than an escape from the tedium of the week. It is a powerful indication of what life is really about.
Together with other believers, we announce today that we want to live in the presence of the Lord who is always with us. The most powerful witness to our faith is the new perspective it gives us, a hope that will cause others to wonder. When that wonder becomes overwhelming, they will question us. “Why do you hope,” they will ask. Then, we will have the opportunity to announce Christ Risen.