Daily Reflection
April 25th, 2004
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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There is a 'back-and-forth' spirit in today's readings.  In the First Reading, Peter and the other apostles are back in court after having been sent forth to stop teaching in the name of Jesus.  In the Gospel, Peter and the other apostles go back to their fishing and Jesus calls them and sends Peter forth to extend Jesus' teachings.

We are sent forth by every Sacrament to live what we have celebrated and believe.  We can pray for the courage of conviction which the Early Church had to live.  They just had to keep teaching and this got them into trouble outside, but was a cause of rejoicing inside them.

We can pray also with the interior sense we have, flowing from the Sacraments, with our being sought for and then sent.  To whom are we sent?

Peter and his companions in crime are locked up for having preached in the Temple.  During the night, while under guard, an angel appears and sends them out, back into the Temple.  When the officers go to fetch them from prison, not only do they not find them there, but news arrives of their being back at their dirty work of preaching in the name of Jesus, and in the Temple again.  Their having been called and then called out of prison is getting them in more trouble.

What we hear in our First Reading are the jealous leaders of the religious establishment confronting Peter and the others with their being disobedient to the previous orders to be silent.

After reviewing how Jesus had been silenced by his being hanged at the hands of these very leaders, Peter and the other apostles leave in high spirits, because they have been proven worthy by being treated in the same way as Jesus, except not physically, not yet.

There are some quite touching scenes in today's Gospel.  The first is that of Peter and his companions who decide to return to the life from which Jesus had called them, fishing.  Jesus, who had told them at his washing of their feet that apart from him they could do nothing, do nothing for their all night fishing. When it was already dawn the great Fisherman appears and catches them according to what catches fisherman, a great catch of fish.

So here again we have the favorite them of John, bad things happen at night and Jesus as light does great things during the daylight.  They come to the realization that it is the Lord and the catch becomes secondary, at least for a while.

The second scene is a reunion at the breakfast table.  Peter who had warmed himself by a charcoal fire while betraying Jesus, is invited to bring some of his catch to be cooked on the charcoal fire where Jesus was already cooking fish and bread.  This is a social awkward situation, but Jesus breaks the tension by distributing the bread and fish to them.  Earlier in their relationship, Jesus had taken loaves and fish to distribute to them and many others.  This scene ends with that symbolic gesture of reconciliation.  They know who he is in the sharing of the bread.

The final scene focuses in on the recommitment of Peter and the missioning of Peter by Jesus.  Peter is invited to follow Jesus once more and this time for keeps.  This scene ends with Peter's following Jesus to a life which will imitate that of Jesus even to the manner of his death.

When going to visit the doctor, I make sure I am wearing squeaky clean underwear.  When going to the dentist I make sure I have flossed and really scrubbed my molars.  When found, we want to be found at our best.  Jesus had the delightful and delighting habit of meeting people where they would rather not be met at all.  A fisher-person does not want anybody to ask about how many fish have been caught if the stringer is empty.  Jesus meets his beloved disciples quite fishless and quite sinful.

After the Resurrection, Jesus went about collecting his beloved women and men friends and usually in the social and spiritually awkward settings.  He continues doing the same thing in our lives.  He does not check the under garments, but the inner.  He does not check the molars for cavities, but asks what we are doing with our emptiness.  He emptied himself by living his whole life even to his last.  He emptied his tomb to fill our empty boats and live with his Eucharistic presences.

What he comes to offer us is our lives as bread for others and the mission to follow him to where we do not know.  The emptiness of Peter's boat was the last experience of emptiness in his life.  Jesus continues meeting us where we would rather not be met. Jesus continues calling us to where we would rather not go and that is, into the mystery of his love.

"Away grief's grasping joyless days, dejection."  G.M. Hopkins, S.J.

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