Counting the ways we experience Christ’s love

| Father Mike Tix | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, by Raphael

With the month of May now here, the thoughts of many turn to Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes and the annual fishing opener. Ask someone, and I’m sure that person will have a fishing story to share. I vividly recall times fishing as a kid. We all have our stories.

In the Gospel reading for Sunday, we hear a fishing story. At the Sea of Tiberias, Peter, Thomas and others do what is most natural to them: They go out to fish. And they catch nothing. While it’s always nice to be on the water, there’s nothing as frustrating as catching nothing. Adding insult to injury, we hear about a stranger appearing, asking the disciples whether they’ve caught anything, and instructing them to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. Peter and the others follow the instruction, make a sizeable catch and recognize the stranger as the risen Jesus. Quickly the disciples come to shore.

One of my favorite parts of this Gospel account is the reporting of a catch of 153 fish. I always wonder who had the job of counting the fish. Some will tell us that at the time of Jesus, 153 represented the known number of people in terms of tribes and clans. In that sense, the 153 fish point to Jesus’ gift of life shared with every people, of every time and place. The risen Jesus does indeed bless us abundantly in something more than a fishing tale. The gift of God’s love is real, present and among us.

The 50 days of the Easter season call us to count the ways. This Gospel story invites us to consider the many ways we experience the risen Jesus in our lives today ­— particularly the Eucharist, where we are fed with the body and blood of Christ as food to strengthen us in living out our baptismal call to follow Jesus and ourselves be witnesses to the Resurrection for our time. In the latter part of this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we hear Jesus ask Peter three times, “Do you love me?” These three times come after Peter has denied Jesus three times, and point to the experience of the risen Jesus that is found in forgiveness and reconciliation.

Another example for us to recall in the month of May is found in our moms as we celebrate Mother’s Day. As we recall Jesus caring for his friends on the shore of the sea, we also remember how a mother’s love reveals something of the risen Jesus in the ways that a mom cares for her children and family. Mother’s Day reminds us both of how a mom reflects the love of God to us and also our need to say thank you. We also think in May about Mary, the mother of God, who said “yes” to the angel and brought God’s love to birth in the person of Jesus. Our moms in their daily care for their families imitate that same “yes” in their lives, and in them we see an example of faith in action.

In these days of Easter, we are invited to watch for the risen Jesus in our lives. Jesus is risen, alive and among us. More than counting the fish in a net, may we take the time to count our experiences of the risen Jesus in our lives. As we count these ways, may we also remember our call to let others see the risen Jesus in us.

Father Tix is vicar for clergy and parish services in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Sunday, May 5
Third Sunday of Easter

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Category: Sunday Scriptures