It is the Lord!

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.
(John 21:1-14)

Scripture Study

21:1 Sea of Tiberias: Another name for the Sea of Galilee.

21:2 At least five of these seven disciples are apostles. John, who is one of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 10:2), remains consistent until the end in withholding his name from the Gospel narrative.

21:3 that night: Net fishing was done at night (Lk 5:5). The most popular fish were tilapias, now called “Peter’s fish”.

21:7 It is the Lord!: John is the first to recognize Jesus on the shore. It is unclear whether his identity was veiled because of the distance, the lingering darkness, or a dullness of spiritual insight (20:14, Lk 24:16; CCC 645). ● Allegorically (St. Gregory the Great, Hom. in Evan. 24): the presence of Christ on land signifies the stability and peace of his Resurrection life, as distinct from the instability and commotion of mortal life still experienced by the disciples as they labor upon the waves of the sea.

21:9 charcoal fire: This expression, used only here and in 18:18 in the NT, sets up the following conversation between Jesus and Peter. The point is that Peter is given a second chance to affirm his love for Christ in front of a fire after three times denying him in front of a fire (18:15–18, 25–27).

21:11 a hundred and fifty-three: The number of fish hauled ashore is symbolic. St. Jerome claims that Greek zoologists had identified 153 different kinds of fish (Comm. in Ez. 14, 47). If this is the background, the episode anticipates how the apostles, made fishers of men by Christ (Mt 4:19), will gather believers from every nation into the Church (Mt 28:18–20).

21:13 took … gave: The breakfast recalls the feeding of the 5,000 in 6:1–14, since these are the only two meals in John eaten beside the Sea of Galilee and the only two where bread and fish are served.

21:14 the third time: i.e., that Jesus appears risen to the group of disciples. Individual encounters like the one in 20:16 are not included in this numbering.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Risen Jesus appears to seven disciples on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. Jesus rose bodily from the dead. This is the fact—eminently surprising and unexpected—that gives birth to Christianity. The excitement that you can sense on every page of the New Testament comes from this novelty.

Why did the Risen Jesus appear only to a few? Why didn’t he make himself readily apparent to anyone who wanted to see? Cardinal Newman commented on this. If Jesus had appeared publicly and indiscriminately to all, the power of the resurrection would have been lessened. Some would believe; others wouldn’t. Some would get it; others wouldn’t. Some would be fascinated, others indifferent.

Instead, he deigned to appear to a small coterie of dedicated disciples who knew him, loved him, understood him—confident that they would be the effective bearers of his message. We are those now who eat and drink with him after his resurrection. And so we have a commission to announce this good news.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.