Friday, 9 April 2021 : Friday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the continuation of the accounts of the Lord’s Resurrection and the early activities of the Apostles in spreading the faith in Jerusalem. In our first reading we heard how the members of the Sanhedrin brought St. Peter and St. John for questioning after they healed a paralytic man at the Temple gate and preached to the people who were gathered. Meanwhile, in our Gospel today we heard the appearance of the Risen Lord to His disciples at the Lake of Galilee not long after His resurrection from the dead.

In our first reading today, we heard of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council, the influential and powerful members of the community questioning St. Peter and St. John for what they had done in healing the paralytic man. Based on what they were asking the Apostles, essentially they were surprised and amazed that the two Apostles could have done what was deemed impossible. Certainly those Sanhedrin members would have recognised the paralysed man who had been by the Temple gate for so many decades.

Yet, they were dumbfounded because they must have thought that since they managed to kill Jesus by condemning Him to death through the Romans, that they had eliminated this rival to their power, influence and authority. They could not believe that His Name was still being spoken and preached around, and even more so, that miracles could happen through His Name and power. That was because they sincerely believed that Jesus was a false Messiah.

And they were even more dumbfounded because they knew many of the disciples and followers of the Lord were mere ordinary people who were mostly uneducated except for a few, and St. Peter and St. John being formerly fishermen from Galilee were among the uneducated ones. Yet, they were able to speak with such eloquence, wisdom and passion, and perform such miracles, that the Sanhedrin were stunned by what they had done in the Lord’s Name.

They were all doing what the Lord had called them to do, as they obeyed His commandments and calling to reach out to the peoples of the nations, and proclaim to them all the Good News of His salvation, and call all of them to be reconciled with Him and to embrace His truth. That was what we heard in our Gospel today as well, symbolically presented in the occasion when the Lord appeared to His disciples in Galilee for the first time.

Today, in the Gospel passage, we heard of the Lord Jesus appearing to the disciples just as they were fishing in the lake of Galilee, having followed His instructions to go to Galilee where they would meet Him. They went to fish and could not gain anything over the entire night. Then, when the Lord came before them on the shore, He told them to cast their nets and immediately there were so many fishes that the boats were almost sunk by the amount of fishes that they managed to catch. It was then that they recognised the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in that story, we heard a very symbolic representation of what the Lord called His disciples to do. First of all, Galilee itself at that time was at the periphery and edge of the Jewish world and community, a place very distant from Jerusalem and Judea, and which was dismissed by the Sanhedrin who said that no one worth of note, nor the Messiah would have come from there. There were many Gentiles living there together with the Jewish populations in Galilee.

Therefore, by being called to Galilee by the Lord, it was representative of the Lord sending out His disciples to go forth to not just the Jewish people but also to the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people, and to spread the truth and salvation in Christ to all of them, without exception. The symbolism of the boat and the fishes is also very powerful, as the boat where the disciples were on, is the Church of God, often represented as a ship or boat, in which the many fishes, each of them represent the peoples of the various nations.

It was at that same place that the Lord Himself called the disciples, to be the fishers of men. It was thus that the Lord reiterated that calling and mission which He then entrusted to all of His disciples and followers, sending them all to reach out into the deep waters, and to cast their nets so that more and more people may come to know the Lord and be saved, and this is the same mission which He has entrusted to all of us as Christians, as parts and members of the Church, sharing in the same mission He has commanded on all of us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be courageous in faith and in carrying out the ministry entrusted to each and every one of us as parts of God’s living Church. Let us all turn towards God with faith and commit ourselves to Him with renewed zeal that we may be ever more committed to live our lives from now on with sincere desire to serve Him in our respective communities, reaching out to those who are in need of us and our help, and showing them the love of God, that they too may come to believe in Him.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord’s calling, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all do this, and let us all contribute in whatever little ways we can, in our own ways, among our communities, families and relatives, circles of friends and others we encounter in life. May God, our Risen Lord and Saviour be with all of us, and may He bless us all and our every good works and endeavours. Amen.

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