The following is a series of points for Meditation/Contemplation on one of the most appealing, inspiring and challenging chapters in the New Testament: John chapter 21!    The word of God is like a two-edged sword that separates bone from marrow. The Word of God can console and comfort, reprove and correct, enlighten as well as motivate. Jesus responded to the devil himself: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4) May we hunger more and more daily for the “Bread of the word of God!”

1.    FISHING!  Some of the Apostles were by profession fishermen.  Instead of just standing around loitering and giving in to laziness, Peter decided to go to work! It is good to work.  The Book of Genesis says that we should earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. Idleness is the workshop of the devil! Many sins we commit because we are inactive/inertia… St John Bosco said that vacation time is the harvest ground of the devil. Why? The young people have too much free time on their hands!   If you do not have anything to do then the devil will give you a lot to do. Experience proves this truth: if you do not have anything to do then the devil will give you a lot to do!

2.    NOTHING.  They caught nothing.  Why? They were expert fishermen; they knew the lake and they were fishing at night which was a prime time to catch fish!  The reason is clear--- Jesus was not in the boat with them. Symbol of mortal sin. Parallel passage—the Vine and the Branches (Jn. 15).  The branch cut off from the vine will dry up and die and be cast into the fire.  If we are not united to Jesus, like the branch to the vine, and living in mortal sin, then we will have no spiritual productivity.

3.    STRANGER ON THE SHORE.   Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus. The disciples on the road to Emmaus failed to recognize Jesus. Once against Jesus is on the shore early in the morning, watching them and concerned about them, but they do not recognize Him. How often do we fail to recognize Him? How often in the Gospel narratives do they fail to recognize Jesus?   One of the biggest problems today in the church is that most Catholics—about 75% in total in USA--- fail to recognize Jesus in the Eucharist. As in Jn.6, when many walked away from Jesus when He gave the “Bread of Life discourse” the same is happening today.  Many Catholics fail to receive the most Holy Eucharist; they fail even to come to Holy Mass. Judas was there and the prophecy of him being a devil was made. He got up and left the Last Supper; he rushed out of Mass.

4.     TIME: EARLY—THE RISING SUN.   Jesus is the “Rising Sun!”  We should get up early to pray where we meet Jesus and not let the devil of laziness bind us to the bed covers!

5.    OBEDIENCE!   They obey Jesus by throwing the net on the other side of the boat.  THE GREAT CATCH!   If we obey Jesus, the Pope, the Church and the Commandments, then God will give success to the work of our hands. “Lord, give success to the work of our hands.”

6.    ABUNDANCE!  They catch 153 whoppers!!!  What Jesus does--- like in the Wedding Feast of Cana—is always the “Best”.  If we let Jesus do the work it turns out perfect!
7.    “Team-work”.   Peter could not have hauled in such a huge catch of fish by himself; he needed the help of his companions to haul in such numerous as well as large fish; these were big fish and the number 153 was enormous. Families, parishes, parish-groups must learn the importance of working together as a team.  In unity there is strength.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; an iron chain that has one card-board link will be rent-asunder with one simple pull!  What are typical enemies?  Jealousy, envy, rivalry, ruthless competition, and of course pride that is at the root of all sins--- all of these, can ruin any group.  With Paul we should learn to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. We are on the same team and are not rivals!

8.    JOHN: EYES OF THE MYSTIC, EAGLE –EYE JOHN!  He saw Jesus first. Reason? He was the beloved disciple, leaned on His Sacred Heart at the Last Supper, stood at the foot of the cross, took Mary, and was the pure and virgin disciple--- a lot of material to meditate on with respect to John!

9.    PETER’S SWIM.  Peter dived in and swam the 100 yards with enthusiasm! Preparing for the Olympic Games—the swimming meet, the 100—next Galilean Olympic Games! ENTHUSIASM.  We should all be ready to jump in the cold water to meet Jesus. We must have enthusiasm today as Catholics--- like the Pentecostals and born-again Christians. Too many dead-beat Catholics!
10.MODESTY!  Peter girds himself.  Must be modest in front of Jesus in Church, but also at all times. Why?  We are  Ambassadors/representatives of Christ at all times!  Modesty is the guardian of the virtue of chastity. (CCC)

11. TENDER ATTENTION AND CONCERN OF JESUS.  Jesus knows that they are hungry so he prepares Breakfast for them of bread and fish.    He is the Bread of life!  The Our Father: “Give us this day our daily bread….” There can be three interpretations to the “Daily Bread”.  We ask that God will provide for our physical needs; our mental needs; still more important, the needs of our soul.

12.JOY!   All filled with joy in being in the Presence of Jesus. Jesus is the reason for our joy!  Money can buy us pleasure but true joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and comes from God.  This indeed is the “Risen Jesus” who came to bring us life and life in abundance.

13. THE WALK ON THE SHORE.   Jesus is walking and talking to Simon-Peter.  This is another description for prayer--- talking to the Lord.   Why not today take a walk and talk with Jesus on the seashore of your life. Tell Him all that is going on in your life because He really cares for you.
14. TRIPLE QUESTION ON LOVE.  Peter is asked three times by Jesus if he loves Him.   Peter is asked “three” times because he denied Jesus three times. It was like a Confession experience in which Jesus as “priest” was giving Peter his penance--- the right proportion and type—to repair for his sin. A good penance should be proportional, practical, and medicinal and pedagogical.

15.PAIN. It pains Peter!  To repair for our sins penance is done which causes us some form of pain. If we accept it willingly it purifies us like gold in the fire, it sanctifies us and makes us more like Christ who suffered on the cross for us.

16. FEED MY SHEEP/LAMB.   Jesus not only forgives Peter, but He also commissions Peter.   He would be called to leave the fishing business so as to be a true “Fisher of Men”.  He was called to be the 1st Pope!   The mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has no limits!
17. DEATH!  Jesus also makes the prophecy of the death by which Peter would glorify Jesus—the crucifixion.  Peter would be crucified upside down.

18.PETER’S CONVERSION (3): 1) The eyes of Christ, Right after the triple denial 2) The triple affirmation of love at Lake Galilee (Jn. 21); 3) Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2). Our conversion probably has similar aspects! We should contemplate the loving gaze and peer into the eyes of Jesus; tell Him that we love Him totally and beg for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

19.FOLLOW ME!  These challenging words that Jesus spoke to Peter are meant for you and for me. What concrete and specific way/ways do you think Jesus wants you to follow Him now?   What might be the major obstacle to follow Jesus now? Your major roadblock?
20. FISHERMEN TO “FISHERS OF MEN”.   Following up on the prior point of meditation of “Follow me”, what type of Apostolic work as well as “where” might you be able to exercise this?  The family apostolate?  What can I do to evangelize in my family?  At work?  Is there a fellow-worker or colleague that God inspires me to bring to the Lord? Distant family member? Maybe there is a cousin or an uncle to bring to the Lord? Friend? Maybe he is floundering and needs a boost?

21. MARY IS THE QUEEN OF THE APOSTLES. (PENTECOST).  Among the many beautiful titles given to the Blessed Virgin Mary is “The Queen of the Apostles”. She was present at that first Novena of Pentecost.  During the course of nine days Mary was with the Apostles. She prayed with them, fasted with them and patiently awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit. Indeed He did come!  Wind, earthquake, fire--- these three natural phenomena ushered in the presence of the Holy Spirit, transforming weak and cowardly men into courageous soldiers of Christ. All of them, with the exception of Saint John shed their blood for Christ as martyrs.


Conclusion.  Read prayerfully the last chapter of the last Gospel, John 21! Allow the Holy Spirit to inspire you. Then feel totally free to use these points to go deeper into the infinite ocean of God’s spirit.  “Speak O Lord for your servant is listening.”   “Here I am O Lord I come to do your will!”