Thursday, April 20, 2017

Friday in the Octave of Easter

“Appearance on Lake Tiberias” by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11
Reading 1: Acts 4:1-12
Commentary on Acts 4:1-12
This selection follows Peter and John as they proclaim Christ crucified and risen. In these verses, their effective apologia has now gained them an audience with Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin, the very same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified. Peter, having just performed a saving act in Jesus’ name, reminds them of this fact with the famous cornerstone (in other versions the word used is “keystone” or “head of the corner”) speech using imagery from their own hymnal Psalm 118:22.
CCC: Acts 4:10 597; Acts 4:11 756; Acts 4:12 432, 452, 1507
R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
R. Alleluia.
This litany of thanksgiving features the cornerstone image that, in addition to Acts 4:1-12, was also used in the Gospel of St. Mark (Mark 12:10), the first epistle of St. Peter (1 Peter 2:7), and the following Old Testament references: Job 38:6Isaiah 28:16Jeremiah 51:26.
CCC: Ps 118:22 587, 756; Ps 118:26 559
Gospel: John 21:1-14
Commentary on Jn 21:1-14
This passage relates the Lord’s third appearance to the disciples.  Again, he is not at first recognized.  In typical Johannine fashion, the first to recognize the Lord was the disciple whom Jesus loved, presumed to be St. John himself.  It is significant that they are found at Lake Tiberias.  They have done what the Lord asked and returned to Galilee (Matthew 28:10).
Jesus tells them were to cast the net and indeed, they net a great number of fish (153 was probably symbolic of universal mission of the Church, the total species of fish known at the time, or the sum of numbers from 1-17).  Peter is so excited he jumps into the water and swims to shore, discovering Jesus with a fish already cooking and bread, a Eucharistic reference.
When they are joined by the other disciples, they were so overawed that they could not even speak.  Then the Lord broke the bread.
“The Fathers and Doctors of the Church have often dwelt on the mystical meaning of this episode: the boat is the Church, whose unity is symbolized by the net which is not torn; the sea is the world, Peter in the boat stands for supreme authority of the Church, and the number of fish signifies the number of the elect (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, 'Commentary on St. John, in loc.').”[4]
CCC: Jn 21:4 645, 645, 659; Jn 21:7 448, 645; Jn 21:9 645; Jn 21:12 1166; Jn 21:13-15 645
One week ago today we recalled the Passion of our Lord and felt the tragic pang of sorrow as he was laid in the tomb.  It always seems odd to see the tabernacle bare and empty, the vigil light extinguished.  Lots of folks can’t seem to understand or perhaps they are just so accustomed to reverencing the Eucharist they don’t think about what it is that‘s missing.
Today, that missing component is back, back in the tabernacle.  The Lord too is back with the disciples who themselves are back fishing, where many of them started.  Now the Lord lets them (and us) know that, while he has fulfilled the Father’s plan, the mission is not completed.  The Lord has made them “fishers of men” as he promised.  Now as then, he directs us, and we are to cast his net. The net we cast is made up of each of us.
Knowing we need strength for such a difficult task, he feeds us with his own body in the Eucharist. He says: “Come, have breakfast.”  The scripture story has one additional piece of symbolism for us after that invitation. The disciples, the ones he called and who had been walking with him for three long years, were there and they too were afraid of the task that he laid before them.
Today as we again pray in thanksgiving that: “He is Risen!” We also ask God for the strength to carry on the work to which, like the disciples on the shore of Galilee, we are called.  May his Holy Spirit guide us and his body, the Eucharist, strengthen us.
In other years on this date: Optional Memorial for Saint Anselm,Bishop and Doctor of the Church

[1] The picture used is “Appearance on Lake Tiberias” by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11
[4] The Navarre Bible, Gospels and Acts, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp.705

No comments: