Father James Swanson, LC
John 21: 1-19
After this, 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.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more
than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you
know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed
my lambs." He then said to him a second
time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I
love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son
of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that
he had said to him a third time, "Do
you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord,
you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus
said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I
say to you, when you were younger, you used
to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when
you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you and lead you
where you do not want to go." He said this
signifying by what kind of death he would glorify
God. And when he had said this, he said to
him, "Follow me."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe
that you are present here and now as I
turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence
in your desire to give me every grace I
need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank
you for your immense generosity toward me. I give
you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord, you know that I love you, but
increase my love.
1. Peter Receives Poor Job Performance Ratings:
The Lord has given Peter a job, and he expects
Peter to do it. But Peter has proven himself
unworthy; he denied Jesus three times in the house of
the High Priest on the night Jesus was handed
over. When Jesus needed him most, Peter turned away
from him. What is Jesus’ response? Does he take away
the leadership position from Peter and give it to
someone else? Hasn’t John shown that he is better
suited to be the leader of the apostles, to be
the rock Jesus can build his Church on? He
never ran away or denied Jesus, even when the High
Priest, knowing John was also a disciple, could easily
have killed him along with Jesus. Yet Jesus does
not take the job away from Peter and give it
to John. Rather, he turns to Peter again and
expresses his confidence in him.
2. Peter Overestimates Himself through Pride:
Peter had a deep love for Jesus, but not
deep enough. On the night of the Last Supper, he
thought he was capable of dying for Jesus, but
he was wrong. When the test came, Peter came up
short. Like Peter, we tend to overestimate our own
readiness to follow Jesus. We do fine under ordinary
circumstances, but when difficult moments come – temptations, opposition,
even persecution – we fail. Like Peter, we come up
short. We love the Lord, but not enough. Jesus’
reaction to us is the same: He does not
lose confidence in us. Neither does he let us off
the hook. He expects us to grow into the
3. The Job Is Yours; Keep Working on the Qualifications:
What is Peter’s shortcoming? He doesn’t love Jesus enough.
His love was real, but there were still things
greater than his love – his fear for instance. On
the night of the Last Supper, he ran away
when Jesus was arrested. He denied Jesus three times.
In each instance, his fear was greater than his love.
To be the first Pope, he needed greater love
than that. He needed a love without limits. That is
why Jesus asks him three times: “Do you love
me?” He is telling Peter that the qualification for
the job is unlimited love. Peter has to have an
unlimited love in order to be the rock on
which Jesus builds his Church. Jesus is not letting
him off the hook. He isn’t giving the job to
someone else. Peter has to get that love, just
as I have to develop an unlimited love to qualify
for the tasks in life that Jesus has given
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know that when
you gave me the responsibilities I have, you gave
me the grace to fulfill them, too. Help me
not to be lazy or irresponsible in serving you. Encourage
me like you encouraged Peter, so I can fulfill
all you expect from me in this life.
I will work on improving myself today. Maybe I can
find a spiritual book that will help me get
closer to God. Maybe I can find a class or
conference that will help me in some aspect of
what God expects from me – parenting, prayer, charity,
etc. – and sign up for it today.