Am I doing the will of the Lord?

(Friday, 5 April 2024. Readings: Acts 4:1-12, Ps. 118:1-2,4,22-27, John 21:1-14)

“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night, they caught nothing.” (John 21:3)

One day, Peter, an experienced fisherman, worked very hard but caught nothing. The next morning, while Peter and his team were washing their nets (and probably brooding over their failure), Jesus begged to use his boat as a podium to preach. Peter did not suspect anything. He didn’t know who Jesus was. After a while, Jesus asked Peter to put out a little from the shore. Peter laughed: “Master, we worked all night and caught nothing…” (Luke 5:5). Jesus said: “Just do it.” To his greatest surprise, Peter netted such a huge catch that he had to call other fishermen to help him. Peter had never seen anything like this before. He knew immediately that Jesus was not just an ordinary person. So, he knelt before Jesus: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). Jesus said to Peter: “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10) That was how Peter’s journey with Jesus began.

Fast forward to days after the resurrection of Jesus. Peter and the other disciples knew that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus had even appeared to them twice and, on one occasion, ate a piece of broiled fish in their presence to show that he wasn’t a ghost. Still, one cool evening, Peter said to the company of disciples: “Brothers, I am going fishing.” Feeling bored and idle, Peter missed the “good old days” of fishing. Since Peter was the group’s leader, the others said: “We will go with you.” What happened that night? How did Peter move from catching fish to healing people in the temple? Where did this fisherman get the boldness to stand up to the chief priests and accuse them of killing Jesus? What lessons can we take home from today’s readings?

  1. Failure is a Blessing in Disguise: Failure is a great teacher, but we are often too ashamed to learn its lessons. If you meet any successful person, know they must have failed a thousand times. Failure can either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone. It is a stumbling block when we blame others or refuse to ask the right questions, but it is a stepping stone when it helps us look inwards. Peter’s failure that night was God’s way of telling Peter that he is called to be a fisher of men (not of fishes). It was also God’s way of teaching him about divine providence. Are you experiencing failure in some aspect of your life? It is time to ask: “Am I doing what God wants of me?” If God has given you an assignment, it will be hard to succeed in something else if you abandon God’s call. This reminds us of the story of Jonah, who tried to run away from God when asked to preach to the Ninevites.
  2. Thunder Doesn’t Strike The Same Spot Twice: If thunder strikes the same place twice, there is a message from above. This was Peter’s experience. Just as Peter (and his fellow fishermen) worked all night and caught nothing before his call, Peter (and the other disciples) worked all night after Jesus’ resurrection and caught nothing. Peter must have asked himself many questions as they returned to land that morning. Just then, they heard the voice of a young man at the shore: “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He told them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they could not haul it in for the quantity of fish. (John 21:5-6). Could this be a coincidence? We often dismiss events as coincidence due to our inability to read the handwriting of God in our lives. It wasn’t just a coincidence; God used this experience to remind Peter that he had been ordained to catch men and no longer to catch fish.
  3. Jesus Prepared Breakfast for Peter and Other Disciples: You must not shout when someone has harmed you. Jesus did not ask: “Why did you go out to fish? What is wrong with you? Don’t you know you should be preaching the Good News?” Jesus asked if they had eaten; a charcoal fire was already prepared. None of the disciples dared to say a word. They got the message. This was the last time Peter or any of the disciples dared to go out to catch fish. They knew they were not dealing with a ghost but a living person. Dear friends, Jesus Christ is alive. He is with us. He still has flesh. He can eat our food and drink our water. He is not dead. He is not a spirit. He is not an imagination. He is a living being.
  4. A Child Who Knows His Father is The President is Not Scared of the Local Vigilante: After this profound experience, Peter and the other disciples were not scared of anyone or any situation. They knew Jesus was with them. In today’s first reading, we hear Peter saying boldly to the leaders of the Jews: “Let it be known to all of you, and all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is the stone that you, the builders, rejected; it has become the cornerstone.” (Acts 4:10-11). Child of God, if you are scared of human beings, it means you are yet to know the God you serve; you still think that Jesus is some imaginary being.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, give me the grace to do your will. Save me from the pursuit of material riches. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

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