Saturday, 14 April 2012

153 Fish

Dear readers:

I don't know if I have anything useful to say, or if not useful then interesting or funny, or sad or poignant.

I'm no hero, or artist, or mom of 6, or father of twelve. I'm not a liturgist, or apologist, or famous protestant turned Catholic. I'm not a priest, or friar. I'm not good looking enough to put my picture up. I've not written a book, and have never been to the Whitehouse: heck I'm not even American. I'm a Canadian... and not even that properly: I was born and bred in England.

So I ask my self why I blog. Well: I've concluded that it's mainly for the discipline. I have some good thoughts that Id like to share sometimes, but I've found that just responding on forums doesn't stretch me enough.

Thanks to all (20 or so :)) who do read my blog. You give me the encouragement to carry on and get better.

Anyway: Enough of that - Here's a thought I'd like to share.

Yesterday's Gospel from John (John 21:1-14).

Simon Peter, Thomas, the Sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together at the Sea of Tiberias.

They had already seen Jesus after his death so the resurrection was a known fact to them, however despite this extraordinarily amazing revelation they were obviously at a loose end, not knowing what to do, or where to turn for leadership.

If I'd seen Christ in bodily form I would be utterly energized and excited so why do I get the impression from this passage that they are morose?

Well they had been called, but in a sense, had not yet been sent; so they were just hanging around.

Now if it had been me I would have said "I'm going for a ride." And I'm sure the Sons of Thunder would have come for a blast with me.  And the sound of Triumph would have been heard in the hills that day!

As know, though, Peter was a fisherman, and so he said, "I am going fishing" (Jn 21:3) and his little group said "We will go with you."

I find this moment in John's Gospel just so normal and natural, and the writing so fresh that it could be describing what a bunch of guys did yesterday.  I'd actually like to have my license plate say Jn 21 3!

What does a guy do when he's just waiting? Something, anything, especially if he feels comfortable with it, likes it, or can make some money doing it! And I'm sure for Peter it was a mixture of all three.

Now we have all seen the bumper sticker, "A bad days fishing is better than a good day at work," and that's what Peter and his buds had: a bad day fishing!

So they are going home in the boat with nothing to show for their efforts, and some stranger asks if they caught anything.

"No" they replied. (Jn 21:5)

I've had those moments in my life, and sometimes the moments are years long, where I have nothing to show for my efforts, like I'm always a day late or a dollar short - or that I've continually put my net down on the wrong side of the boat.

Of course, even if I believe in Christ, living my life without direction ain't going to get me any results.

Jesus says, put your net over the other side.  And of course immediately they make a record catch of fish.

John recognizes Jesus in this event, because Jesus had made the same command at the beginning of the Apostles' journey  in Luke's Gospel (Lk 5:6).  John recognizes Jesus, but it's Peter who reacts, putting ON his clothes to jump into the water and swim to shore.

And then more details that make this passage so heartwarming: Jesus has a fire going, with fish grilling on it. So Peter and the gang have caught nothing and Jesus has not only made a catch he has it grilling too!

I just find this image so comforting, and almost an allegory of heaven: coming home to Jesus and grilled fish on a lake shore.

And then,

               Jesus said to them, "come and have breakfast." (Jn 21: 12)

Again, such a comforting, normal, welcoming thing for Christ to say. I love going for breakfast with friends.

And to top it all off, at the end of the day we find that contrary to the frustration and scanty results we were experiencing all along, with the Lord's help we have landed a huge catch (153 fish) and have not torn the nets either.

So, here's to 153 fish, a symbol of the Lord's bounty, and a sign that when we listen to the voice of Christ our efforts will not be in vain.


  1. Very nice, Triumphguy!! I like your blogspot.

  2. No disrespect to Father, but your thoughts ring truer to me than the homily. I like the way you look at things.