Peter, Peter, and John

Sunday readings in brief 3 Easter C

Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Ps 29 (30(; Ap 5:11-14; Jh 21:1-19

Peter, Peter and John

Dear friends, today is the third Sunday of Easter. We continue to witness the risen Lord through his manifestation to his disciples. Since Easter Sunday, the figures of Peter and John have been predominant in the readings. I would like us to focus today on these two disciples and the role they have played in the cause of spreading the Good News.

In the first reading, these two disciples demonstrate incredible courage before the Sanhedrin as far as obedience to God is concerned. It is the same Peter who a few weeks ago denied having anything to do with Jesus the prisoner. Peter was a good person with leadership characteristics though he was weak when faced with difficulties. Peter was always very quick to volunteer himself without first reflecting on the magnitude of the present matter. Just before he denied knowing Jesus, Peter had vowed even to give his own life for him (Jn 13:37).

John was a quiet and contemplative person. Sometimes he is identified as the disciple that Jesus loved the most. On many occasions, John is found to save the situation though he did not want to be in the limelight like Peter. John was a very humble person and he recognized the position of Peter as his senior in spite of Peter’s weaknesses. He played a big role in shaping Petr’s mission. He was always at his side to support him. On the morning of the resurrection when the two-run to the tomb at the news of the women, John runs faster than Peter but upon reaching the tomb did not enter until Peter arrived (Jh 20:4).

During the first days of preaching the resurrection, Peter and John are always together. Unlike Peter who deserted Jesus at the hour he needed him most, John accompanied Peter even in Prison and on many occasions beaten together. He did not wish even one day to take the position of Peter but always played his subordinate role to support Peter in his mission. How many of us today dig holes in the path of our leaders and orchestrate their weaknesses in order to take their positions when they fall?

In the Gospel today, Peter tells the other disciples that he is going to fish. Recognizing his position in the community, the other disciples volunteered to go with him. They went fishing in the dark just as they used to do before they met Jesus and became his disciples. We are told that that night they did not catch any fish. It was at dawn when Jesus appeared to them at the shore just as he did the first time. The disciples did not recognize him until the miraculous catch of fish. John recognized that it was “the Lord” and alerted Peter first.

Frustrated that their master and Lord were no more with them, Peter leads the other disciples back to their previous trade which was to seek fish in the darkness. Jesus appears to them and demonstrates to them that their mission was no longer to catch fish in darkness but to spread the Good News in the light, therefore, the miraculous catch of fish in broad daylight which was very unusual for the fishermen.

Later as Jesus restored the hope of the disciples, he also restored Peter back to the truck because he was still naked – ashamed to have betrayed his master. By asking him three times, if he loved him, Jesus helps Peter to recognize his own value as his disciple despite his weaknesses. Jesus did not drop him behind because he was weak.

Dear friends, there is a lot we can learn from these two disciples. Like John, we all are invited to play our dutiful roles without excessive ambitions to surpass those senior to us in authority but support them in their weaknesses. Having more knowledge and skills than your boss does not mean that you have a right to take his or her position. It means that you have a duty to support his or her mission. Like Peter, we do not forfeit our leadership positions because we have some weaknesses but rather seek help and support from people who are even better than we are. Jesus teaches us to uplift those who believe in us and not to victimize them because of their weakness.

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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