He Pursues Us

May 1, 2022 | N W | Commitment, Deacon Barry, Discipleship, Easter, Eucharist

Third Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 / Ps 30 / Rev 5:11-14 / Jn 21:1-19
by Rev. Mr. Barry Welch, Guest Homilist

Sometimes when you’re trying something new, barriers arise, especially if you want to do something good and follow Jesus.  Stumbling blocks occur and sometimes we make mistakes on our way.  We get discouraged in this new path that we’ve taken.  Frequently we revert back to whatever we were doing before.  Whatever we used to do is easier and more comfortable.

That’s exactly what the disciples in today’s gospel were doing.  Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”  That’s what Peter had done his whole life before he started this three-year ministry with Jesus.  All of the things that happened in Jerusalem—Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion—were just too much for Peter and the other disciples to take.  They decided to go all the way back home and go fishing.  Did they catch any fish?  No.  They fished all night long in the dark and did not even catch one fish until someone came along to help them.  Who was that?  Jesus.

They left this life with Jesus to go back to fishing, but Jesus didn’t leave them alone to figure things out for themselves.  He pursued them.  He followed them to where they were.  Remember, after Jesus was crucified, everyone ran away because they were frightened.  Peter, the leader of them all, denied Jesus three times.  Afterwards, when they are afraid and locked in a room, Jesus appeared in spite of the locked door.  He didn’t leave them alone.  “Peace be with you,” He said.

But Thomas wasn’t present at that time, so the next week, Jesus came back again and said to him, “Thomas, look at my wounds.  Feel my side and believe.”

Now they’ve left Jerusalem and returned to Galilee, walking a distance of one hundred miles.  Jesus followed them there and found them fishing.  Jesus found them, not in the dark, but in the morning light.  Jesus was constantly pursuing them.  Jesus is constantly pursuing us.  He wants us to turn and follow Him.  He had asked the disciples to follow Him when He first met them.  They dropped all their nets, got out of their boats and followed Him.  Then in today’s gospel, He’s asked them again.  His final words are, “Follow me.”

There is a children’s book called “Runaway Bunny,” that was very well-loved in my own household.  There is a little young bunny in the story, who decides he’s going to run away.  His mother tells him if he runs away, she will run after him, “for you are my little bunny.”  The little bunny comes up with all of these ways in which he plans to avoid his mother.  For example, he says, “If you run after me, I will become a fish in a trout stream.”  But the mother says, “Then I’ll become a fisherman and catch you.”  Then he says, “If you become a fisherman, then I will become a rock, high on a mountain.”  The mother says, “Then I’ll become a mountain climber and climb up to you.”  Another example is when the little one says, “I’m going to become a crocus in a hidden garden.”  Mother replies that she will become a gardener and live there as well.  Finally, the little bunny says, “Shucks!  I might as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”  And the mother says, “Have a carrot.”

Why am I telling this story?  I’m just going to say this line: “And Jesus said, ‘Have some fish. And bread.’”  Perhaps the disciples said, “We might as well stay with You and be Your disciples.”  Jesus is constantly pursuing, just like mother bunny.

Jesus found the disciples fishing in the morning.  Once they recognized Him, they left their lives that they had gone back to, and gathered around Jesus for a meal.  We also have come out of our normal lives and have gathered around Jesus for a very special meal.  We are going to have bread also, which will be transformed into His body.  Do we recognize Him?  Remember, the disciples did not recognize Him at first either.

In the gospel today, the words, “charcoal fire,” are used.  There are only two times in all of the scriptures where these words appear.  One of them is when Peter was denying Christ three times.  The slaves in the courtyard were warming themselves by a charcoal fire.  The second time is in today’s gospel, when Peter is affirming his love for Christ three times.  We are grateful that Peter returned to being a disciple, since he became our first pope.  Through him, our Church has come through hundreds and hundreds of years to today.

Even now, Jesus’ mercy and love are going to be passed on to everyone here.  In Communion, He feeds us.  When we eat this transformed bread, that transformed bread transforms us.  We become a temple of Jesus Christ.

When you come forward for Communion, think of Peter at that beachside barbecue, being asked, “Do you love me?”  In your “Amen,” think of Peter’s response and answer, “Yes, I love You.”

  1. Chet Niedzwiecki (86 yr old youth) Posted on

    Spirit filled homily. Scripture based touching my heart and I’m sure the hearts of many others! He still pursues me!

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