5 May 2019
The high priest demanded an explanation of the Apostles. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’ They warned the apostles not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
In my vision, I, John, heard the sound of an immense number of angels gathered round the throne and the animals and the elders; there were ten thousand times ten thousand of them and thousands upon thousands, shouting, ‘The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing.’ Then I heard all the living things in creation – everything that lives in the air, and on the ground, and under the ground, and in the sea, crying, ‘To the One who is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honour, glory and power, for ever and ever.’ And the four animals said, ‘Amen’; and the elders prostrated themselves to worship.
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’
It is the Lord
I spent most of last week running around, being available for those who needed me and by the time we got to the regular 4th Saturday healing service at CSC, I was pretty much in ‘auto’ mode. Towards the end of the healing service, our spiritual director came over to me and whispered that he was going to bring Jesus down from the altar and walk to the front of the congregation; and that he wanted me to turn on all the lights in the hall (we usually dim them during healing). No time to ask questions, no time to react except to say ‘OK’ and then hope for the best.
We had already spent a good part of 40 to 50 mins adoring Him and many had come forward to be prayed over. But as Fr Andrew came down with Jesus, I witnessed quite a few in the congregation rest again as they were adoring on their knees. Then he came in front of where we were singing and all I could do was to look at the Blessed Sacrament and smile. I knew there and then that He had been walking with me all throughout my rather fraught week. I came to a realisation why I had been strangely calm amidst the storm – I had been leaning on Him all this while and not letting my emotions get the better of me.
Brothers and sisters, the overriding emotion that carried me through the week was love. A simple word that defies all logic when your search for answers brings nothing; and when those who depend on you demand your attention and seek your leadership. I told my deputy at work that over the next few weeks (and even months), I would probably be ‘less approachable’ and not be in a very consultative mood as I make decisions but assured him that there would be no emotion involved and that he was not to take my lack of concern personally.
So as Jesus appeared before his disciples while they were tending their nets and going about their normal business, completely unaware that He was the one asking if they had caught anything, it took yet another miracle before Peter’s eyes were opened. How weak we are in our faith that even though the Son of Man stands by our side each day, we still require some ‘act of God’ to happen before we choose to believe that it IS the Lord in front of us. What will it take for us to finally acknowledge our risen Lord, that He has conquered death and reigns in our hearts, and therefore, we have no excuse but to radiate His love to each and everyone we encounter in our daily lives?
Are we, as Christians, going to just sit idly by and let life consume us? Or are we going to be His soldiers in the battlefield (hardly a metaphor in these troubled times) and allow His love to flow through us so that our family, our colleagues, our community and our enemies are so overwhelmed that they look at us and say ‘It is the Lord’? Easier said than done isn’t it? Because who are we but mere mortals – wounded souls who persecute others with our words, our actions and our judgemental ways.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that you help us open our eyes to your presence each and every day.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for resurrecting in our hearts each and every day we celebrate the Eucharist.