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Back to the Future – A Meditation on the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter

April 9, 2016 19 Comments

blog4.10Today’s Gospel is really quite remarkable. For despite the fact that the apostles have seen the resurrected Jesus several times now, they seem to be retreating into the past. They’re headed backwards and Jesus must summon them, if you’ll pardon the expression, “back to the future.”

They were going back to fishing but the Lord calls them away from fishing and points them to the future, a future that includes going to all the nations and summoning them to saving faith.

This is a critical Gospel that shows us Jesus summoning the apostles back to their crucial call, a call that has its focus not in the past but in the future. Indeed, fellow believers, if this Gospel had not gone right, your faith and mine might well have been in jeopardy. We are the future that Jesus sought to preserve. Our own coming to the faith depended on whether Jesus was able to summon Peter and the other apostles back to the future.

Let’s look at this gospel in four stages.

1. Regrettable Reversal – The text says, At that time, 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.

Peter had no business going back to fishing. The Lord had clearly called him away from fishing. For example: And he said to them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately, they left their nets and followed him (Mat 4:19).

But in today’s Gospel we see Peter going back to commercial fishing. This is not some sort of recreational fishing; the commercial nets are out. It is astonishing to think that after having encountered Jesus risen from the dead on at least two (and possibly more) occasions, he’s going back to fishing!

We often think that if only we were to see a miracle our faith would be strong, but there is very little evidence for this. Many who see signs and wonders, ponder whether what they have seen can be topped. Their fascination is engaged but not their faith. Ultimately, faith produces miracles; miracles do not produce faith.

Peter’s return to fishing is not only regrettable, it is scandalous. For in so doing it leads others say to him, “We will also go with you.” When we backslide we often bring others with us. Looking at it more positively, when we grow in holiness we also bring others with us. Sadly, Peter has regressed and others follow him. But as we shall see, the Lord will not abandon his church.

While we may wonder at St. Peter’s relapse, we should recognize that we, too, easily do the same. We praise Jesus with the same mouth that sometimes spews curses and gossip. We claim that we belong to Christ and are one body with Him, that we are a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and yet with that same body often comes forth fornication and other sexual impurity. We say that God is love, and yet from us too easily comes anger, hatred, and a lack of love for the poor and troubled.

We too easily run back to the things from which we have been called away. The Lord points us forward but we run backward.

Just as He did with the apostles in this Gospel, the Lord must stand on the shore of our baptismal waters, and call us out of the past and back into the future, a future of holiness and perfection. Too easily, we run from this. Yes, the Lord is faithful and stands on the shore calling us back. Would that we could say, in the words of an old gospel song, “Goodbye world, I stay no longer with you, goodbye pleasures of sin, I stayed along with you! I’ve made up my mind to go God’s way the rest of my life!” Another gospel song from the 1940s says, “No more, no more! I’ll never turn back no more! I’m going to keep on crossing till I reach the other shore. Rains may come, floods may roar, storms may race, and winds may blow, but I’ll never turn back, no more!”

Would that this were the case! But the Lord keeps calling us, calling from the shore, out across the waves of our discontent.

2. Redeeming Reminder – The text says, 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.

The Lord stands on the shore and does again for them what he had some three years earlier, when he called them from fishing to evangelizing. He does not excoriate them; He does not call them fools or some other epithet. He calls out to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” And rather than rebuke them, He asks them to assess the situation, to consider whether the course of action they have chosen has yielded anything at all. They admit that they’ve caught nothing.

And yet, strangely, this whole incident seems familiar. The Lord tells him that if they cast the net over the other side of the boat they will find something. Suddenly the nets are full! Oh, how this spoke to their hearts; it was just what happened three years ago! Scripture says,

And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him (Luke 5:4ff).

In today’s Gospel, John draws the obvious conclusion, “It is the Lord!”  The Lord has given them a redeeming reminder. He does not rebuke them; he only reminds them. In effect, He says “Come out of the past! Remember the future to which I have summoned you, a future of going forth to the nations and announcing the Gospel for all to hear. Your life is not about fish; it is about humanity!”

What reminders has the Lord put into your life? How has He stood on the shore and called to you with some reminder? Perhaps it was a tattered old Bible, or maybe an old hymn that you heard. Perhaps it was your grandmother’s old rosary beads stored away in a dresser drawer. Perhaps you are summoned to a funeral or wedding.

In moments like these, the Lord stands on the shore of life and calls to you. He reminds you of your call, and asks you to consider whether your present course is doing anything for you whatsoever. Usually, it has not. Perhaps there is fleeting wealth or momentary popularity, but otherwise there is little else to show for it.

And thus the Lord calls. He calls us back to the future, a future (and a present) oriented toward Heaven. Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, seek the things that are above, rather than the earth below (Colossians 3:1).

In the words of a popular hymn, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me. See on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me; Come home, come home! Ye who are weary come home! Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling oh sinner come home!”

Here, then, is a redeeming reminder that Jesus is calling, softly and tenderly: “Come out of the past. Come away from commercial fishing. Look to the future, the future of saving souls!”

III. Reorienting Repast – The text says, 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?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus 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.”

Notice three basic elements whereby the Lord uses a meal to reorient them. To reorient (re (again) + oriens (East)) literally means to turn someone back to the East, back toward the rising of the sun (Son), back toward the light and away from the darkness.

FISH – The fish are in, and their number is plentiful. The specific number, 153, has significance more for humanity than for fish. While much ink has been spilled on the significance of this number, the most likely explanation seems to be that this was the number of known nations at the time. And hence, that exactly 153 fish are caught seems to be the Lord’s way of saying, “…not fish, but humanity: all the nations!” We see that God can use even our backsliding, our sins, and use them to call us away from them. Yes, He can use our sins to be a teachable moment.

FIRE – As Peter comes ashore, he sees a fire. And though the text is silent on this, surely it must have unnerved him! For here was a charcoal fire, the same sort of fire that was in the courtyard of Caiaphas the high priest where Peter had denied the Lord (Jn 18:18). Hurt, and unnerved by what he had done—or rather failed to do—Peter felt unworthy. Yes, this fire reminded him of his denial of the Lord.

And yet even Peter’s repentance is somewhat egocentric. It would seem that he wonders, “How could I have done this, I, who promised the Lord to be with Him even if all should rage against Him!” But in moment of cowardice, Peter denied the Lord. Oh yes, this fire, this charcoal fire, is bothersome indeed! The Lord stands next to the fire and looks at Peter much as he had in the courtyard of Caiaphas when, after Peter had denied Him for the third time, Jesus turned and looked at Peter (Lk 22:61). How this fire bothered him!

FRANKNESS – But now comes a tender, poignant, and powerful conversation. To us who read the text in English, the conversation focuses on the fact that three times, the Lord asked Peter, “Do you love me?” But in Greek, there are subtleties that do not come through in the English translation.

In the English translation, the Lord asks Peter simply, “Do you love me?” And Peter answers, “Yes Lord, I love you.” The Greek text, however, is more subtle and more specific. In Greek, the Lord asks, Σίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς με πλέον τούτων? (Simon Joannou agapas me pleon touton? – Simon, son of John, do you love (agapas) me more than these?). Jesus has asked about “agape” love. But Peter replies, κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. (Kyrie, su oidas oti philo se. – Lord, you know that I have brotherly (philo) love for you.)

The Lord asked for agape love, the highest love, wherein we love God above all things and above all people, including ourselves. But Peter does not answer with agape love. Rather he replies that he loves the Lord in a brotherly (philo) way. This is far short of what the Lord asked. (I realize that there are debates about the Greek used in this passage, but I am convinced that the use of the two different verbs is significant. You can read more on this topic here: Agape vs Philo in John 21).

But in spite of Peter’s response of imperfect love, the Lord still has something important for St. Peter to do: Feed my lambs.

A second time, the same dialogue sets up wherein the Lord asks PeterΣίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς με (Simon, son of John, do you love (agapas) me? Peter responds, κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε (Lord you know that I have brotherly (philo) love for you. Again, the Lord has asked for unconditional, ultimate love. But Peter can only return a lesser love, a brotherly love, a sort of affection. Yet again, the Lord does not reject Peter. He accepts what Peter says and tells him, Tend my sheep.

On the third occasion, Jesus accepts what Peter is able to offer and asks him, Σίμων Ἰωάννου, φιλεῖς με; (Simon, son of John, do you have brotherly affection (phileis) for me? The third question, which strikes Peter to the heart, causes him to exclaim that he (only) has brotherly love. Yet again, the Lord does not reject Peter, but rather assigns him a task, saying once again, Feed my lambs.

This is perhaps one of the most poignant, beautiful, and honest moments in Scripture. The Lord looks with love to a disciple and asks him for the highest love; that disciple honestly answers that he has only imperfect love to offer. Perhaps for the first time in his life, Peter is being absolutely honest. There is no more posing, no more bragging—only an honest answer, borne out of sober appreciation of his human lapses. There is nothing more beautiful than honest prayer, for honesty is a prelude to healing. Jesus accepts what Peter is able to offer, and as we shall see, promises him that his heart will expand so that one day he will love the Lord totally, unconditionally, above all things, and above all people.

How about you? Are you honest with the Lord? Have you experienced His love in spite of your sin? Do you know that He can use you even in your weakness if you are willing to be honest with Him?

IV–Required Remedy – The text says, “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.”

In this whole conversation, the Lord’s purpose is not to stalk Peter or to badger him. Rather, it is to lead him toward a necessary remedy, to point him back toward the future, a future filled with evangelical fervor and sacrificial love. Peter is weak now, but the Lord will give him strength. Within ten days after His Ascension, the Holy Spirit will come and Peter will be quickened, strengthened in the faith.

But even then, the work the Lord needs to do is not finished, for the Lord speaks of the day when Peter will finally have the grace to accept martyrdom. It will be a day when someone will tie him fast and lead him off to where he would rather not go. But Peter will go. And he will die for Christ.

In the end, Peter will be able to say, without any simulation or exaggeration, “I love you, Lord, totally, with agape love. I love you above all things, above all people, and above even my own life.”

For now, though, Peter is not ready. But the Lord will lead him by stages and get him ready.

How will Peter get there? How will we get there?  The Lord simply says, Follow me.

So, fellow disciples, the Lord is leading you to a deeper love, an unconditional love, a love above all other loves. Only the Lord can do this. He did it for Peter—a hard case, actually—and He can do it for you!

For now, though, He is standing on the shore and calling us to a richer future:

Filed in: Easter

Comments (19)

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  1. Eric says:

    I think that you’re being a bit harsh on Saint Peter and the other six for going fishing Monsignor. They hadn’t yet received the Great Commission to go and preach the Gospel to all nations. And they had received instructions from Jesus Himself to go to Galilee, and they did exactly that. And since they were Galilean fishermen is it surprising that they pursued their trade in the interim?

    There is nothing scandalous about fishing. Many of us have had conversion or reversion experiences and you know what? we still had to get up the next day and go to the same job that we were doing the day before, we just have to bring Christ with us. I just wanted to offer that point of view.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      I respond by recalling Jesus who said “No longer will you be catching fish, you will be catching men” So the Lord called them away from commercial fishing. Hence you’re point in your second paragraph does not apply

      • Eric says:

        I might respond by saying that while Our Lord did indeed tell them that from now on they would be catching men He was happy to make use of their fishing boat several times after that. And again, they had yet to receive the Holy Spirit and had yet to be commanded specifically to go to make disciples of all nations so what exactly were they supposed to be doing? I might quote Saint Augustine here as cited by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Catena Aurea in his exposition of John 21:

        “If the disciples had done this {returned to commercial fishing} after the death of Jesus, and before His resurrection, we should have imagined that they did in despair. But now after He has risen from the grave, after seeing the marks of His wounds, after receiving, by means of His breathing, the Holy Ghost, all at once they become what they were before, fishers, not of men, but of fishes. We must remember then they were not forbidden by their Apostleship from earning their livelihood by a lawful craft, provided they had no other means of living.”

        I will agree to disagree with you about this Monsignor, but thank you for the post.

        • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

          Cool. The wide view of the Fathers is noted in the comments here. But it is interesting to me that they even ask the question if it is wrong to go back to fishing. It is an odd move to say the least, especially after the resurrection. And if it is OK why does the Lord call them ashore once more. Why the need to recall the very incident where he said to them no more will you be catching fish? Why the question to Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” Here too, while there is debate if “These” refers to the disciples or the fish, I think the fish are the likely reference of “these” give the context. Thus the whole incident to me is a gentle but clear renewing of the call away from fishing along with a threefold redemption of Peter’s denials. Peter is being healed and set right so he can confirm the brethren. While some consider it bold to differ with the Fathers, I really don’t think we can or should live in an environment that utter shuts out other interpretations of this sort. There are other things in the Fathers that have not stood the test of time.

          Anyway, like you say, agree to disagree.

          Blessings!

  2. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this opening of the Scriptures, Monsignor. I deeply appreciate your writing.

  3. Barbara Levich says:

    It seems to me that since Jesus asks, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” He is putting the best possible face on their return to fishing. He seems to want to believe that they have just been fishing to feed themselves rather than as a career choice. His addressing them as children indicates they must yet be taught.

    Love this part: When we backslide we often bring others with us. Looking at it more positively, when we grow in holiness we also bring others with us.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Yes, I think Jesus is clearly rebuking them but in a kindly way also by calling the “Children” and the diminutive in Greek indicates affection

  4. Msgr. Charles Pope says:

    Getting some scoldings here from mostly clergy who seek to correct me either on my treatment of Peter return to fishing or on the use of agape. To such as these I would like to ask them to lighten up and realize this is just a homily and I am am just some priest. I am not dealing with a moral or doctrinal issue here, just a pastoral perspective on Peter’s journey and ours. So would you all please lighten up.

    Secondly, please don’t treat me or other readers as stupid and in need of education. I am well aware that all the Fathers have this interpretation and I have treated of that with the readers here before:

    http://blog.adw.org/2015/05/a-distinction-without-a-difference-or-a-distinction-to-die-for-wrestling-with-the-subtleties-of-john-2116-peter-do-you-love-me-2/

    So please lighten up, it is just a homily and especially in pastoral perspectives the Fathers of the Church don’t get the last word. Their views and especially their historical window in the early the early Church and the development of doctrine is important. But the pastoral perspectives aren’t the last word. I stat in the link above why I (and others) hold the view that the verb forms are significant.

    So disagree if you want but I am not interested in engaging on a debate about a pastoral perspective that is both valid and helpful even if you don’t like or agree with it or if it wasn’t your homily today

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Saints struggle. I don’t know a single one except Mary who didn’t sin. But whether Peter sinned culpably or not is not for me to say. But this much is clear, the Lord called him away from fishing (“You shall no longer be catching Fish”) and going back to fishing is not what he should be doing. That’s why he stands on the shore and calls them back and alters reminds Peter to tend the Sheep (not catch fish).

      I suspect that you are in the category of people who take exception to discussing the struggles of saints, especially biblical ones. I usually get pushback for certain readers when I write of Moses, David, Abraham, Lot, et al. and take the biblical data at face value. Even great biblical heroes and saints did knuckleheaded things. That is offensive to pious ears is I understand, but I think the Biblical text does a beautiful job of describing how our great heros had to make a journey into deeper faith, like we all do. As such the Biblical text presents people we can emulate and gives us hope. God knows our journey.

      Here too, I have written more on this topic of pious sensibilities and most of my regular readers understand whereof I speak:

      http://blog.adw.org/2015/07/patriarchs-are-people-too-a-reflection-on-the-fact-that-the-bible-speaks-frankly-about-the-faults-of-our-heroes/

      Why do you use words like high horse and victim? Why do you even address me at all? I have often asked commenters here to address the article. If they disagree, say what and why and interact with other readers. You have insisted, for reasons of your own on making this personal.

      I am not aware of having a high horse, but I don’t have time to field lots of personal attack. I write and preach in an edgy way and focus on the human elements of the Biblilcal narrative. If it is not your style, fine. But I think you are dogmatizing too much regarding the Prince of the Apostles. We do not teach he, or any Pope is sinless, but rather that in matters of faith and morals he is protected from formally teaching error. It does not mean that popes don’t make fumbles in matters of prudential judgment. I think with the coming of Pentecost Peter was clearer, but even after Paul had to withstand him on a prudential matter and suggest he led others into this by bad example.

      Any way Fr. If I were to assess your remarks, from my “high horse” I think IMHO 😉 that you are being too dogmatic in your assessment. Disagree wif you want but I really don’t think this is about dogma, even if you do. Peter didn’t get everything right. THat’s ok, the Lord had his back in the matters of faith and morals.

      • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

        Rev Fr. You have your own detractors on the Internet, e.g.

        [Links removed]

        Now I don’t even know who these authors are and I don’t have time to check if their charges are fair. But I suspect that the charges are NOT fair. That said, I would hope that you, having been attacked by people who want to parse your every word, and absolutize what you have said, or dogmatize what is not in fact dogma, that you might be a little less prone to do that to others.

        I want to end this little toe to toe with you. You don’t have to like my post. But I have been blogging for nine years and people who know my sermons etc know that I often write with a hyperbolic flourish and that I often present biblical figures as on a journey (which I think the text also does). You own blog, inactive now I think, often referred to Fr. Lapide who, I think, engages in a lot of rather edgy speculations of his own. He is free to do so, and I sometimes agreed with him and sometimes not. But the Church does not rise or fall on Lapide any more that a far less influential figure than me.

        Fr. Ryan, this must end, I have other duties now, but honestly, its just a homily. As for this blog of mine, take what you like and leave the rest. Maybe for your own serenity you just shouldn’t read the blog, especially my homilies. Just for the record, I borrowed the ideas of this homily from Bishop Sheen in his retreat conferences for priest on Simon Peter both in Ireland and here in Maryland – He treated of Peter the Man as I do and spoke to his journey. He too engaged in hyperbolic flourish. Regarding Hyperbole, My favorite Sheen moment is when he said regarding Jesus’ recitation of Psalm 22, Sheen remarked “God is an atheist!” Great stuff, and, if interpreted literally, utter heresy. But Sheen was that way (i.e he used hyperbole – and should not be read literally on this point). But preachers sometimes use either hyperbole, or as I do here, a hermeneutic of personal journey and development. Sheen did something similar in his talk: The fall and Rise of Peter. Her certainly reads into the story and does so creatively. I am poor understudy of his, But Fr. Ryan, back down, I am not preaching error. I am presenting an opinion, an interpretation of a passage for which the Church has no official and univocal interpretation. If you don’t think there is a problem with Peter going back to fishing, fine, I do. The Fathers of the Church don’t get the last say on this sort of stuff. If so, why do even bother to preach on Sunday, just have the Catena read.

        I am not dogmatizing here, and neither should you.

        Finis

  5. DougO says:

    Father,
    Why do you say that miracles do not produce faith? In that day and age, how many people were drawn to see Jesus if He were not doing miracles? If they were not going to see Him, then they would not have heard His words.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Well I don’t mean it in an absolute sense. But generally and historically miracles do not produce abundant conversions and many people saw Jesus’ miracles and still hardened their hearts. Jesus surely does use miracles as evidence of his divine claims along with fulment of prophecy, the testimony of John the Bapt and the testimony of the Father.

      • RAY - PORTSMOUTH UK says:

        Great, Msgr! And a point very adequately made by yesterday’s Gospel reading from the Mass.
        John 6:22-29 – 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” (And here’s the telling bit!) 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.”
        Jesus was not fooled – ever! They were much more concerned with filling their bellies -(or perhaps even too busy quoting this or that saint or father)- than coming to grips with His word!
        Then – they ask Him what they need to be doing to do God’s work? And Jesus goes on to tell them in no uncertain terms, 29 “….. This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
        By the way – forgive me for defending your interpretation above in the following: All you ‘nit-pickers’ above, take heed of Jesus’ words in Verse 29 of John 6!!!
        God bless – ALL!

  6. Deacon Ed Peitler says:

    Very insightful exegesis on Sunday’s Gospel and helpful in preparing a homily for this Wednseday on our universal call to get about the business of evangelizing.

  7. Morrie Chamberlain says:

    Msgr.,

    I recall your blog quite regularly on your admonishment for readers to not absolutize. Quite often you are looking at a subject from a certain angle and then you get criticism for not addressing the other angles and their ramifications. I think this also applies here.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Thank you, I am grateful for your encouragement and understanding of the context and the need not to absolutize. Bless you.

  8. carmel says:

    Is it a normal and proper way to ask such question?

    Have you caught anything? would have been proper and sufficient! No?

    The fact that Jesus emphatically said to eat, He meant spiritual food rather than actual food to me.

    Jesus made it clear that they must obey him, in order to catch something to eat, so He reminded them and said:

    Cast the net over the right side of the boat

    Over the right side of the boat, that expression:

    the right side of the boat!

    The boat in that case is a reference to their life, ambission, task, from then on:

    The right side of their life,

    Where Jesus pin pointed was the positive direction and they caught the fish,

    But He meant way back in the beginning,

    Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” …

    Men in biblical terms are

    SOULS!

    So He meant that they must engage themselves to the Gospel!

    FORGET THE NORMAL FISHING!

    they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.

    FIRE, FISH, AND BREAD!

    Here Jesus was emphatically clear:

    The apostles must be on FIRE for the Mission, and they will be able to catch FISH and have BREAD!

    “Come, have breakfast.”

    He Himself, would be the person to give their breakfast, He would make sure that the breakfast, the first meal, the first souls would be like bread for them, as easy as a piece of bread! Their task is only to start preaching and He would do the rest.

    Acts 2:41 They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand SOULS.

    “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.”

    When Peter was younger he did what he wanted to do SINFUL PERSON, but from now on he must do what he don’t want to do.

    HE MUST FOLLOW JESUS!

    Peter was afraid, he was perplexed, he didn’t have the right fire for the job!
    He was not ready to risk his life!
    The Jews were the most stubborn people!

    “I am going fishing.”

    He clashed with Paul because he was afraid! the fact that he asked to be crucufied head downward! He felt that he didn’t accomplish Jesus’ work IN FULL as much as he should have done!

    So Jesus made it clear that he has to die for the Gospel!

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