Sermon for Morning Prayer

The 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C, May 1, 2022
John 21:1-19

Rev. Misa Furumoto

Good morning and Happy Easter. Although our life with Covid 19 continues, winter is gone and spring has surely come. We are in the season of Easter for 50 days until the day of Pentecost which will be June 5th this year. During this time, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and relish the fact that Jesus is alive and always walks with each one of us. Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us how Jesus called and invited Paul who was then persecuting Christians, to become His follower. And today’s Gospel shows us how Jesus appeared to the gathered disciples by the Sea of Tiberias and told Peter to follow the path of Jesus. Each of them is extremely beautiful story, but we want to remember that neither Paul nor Peter was a rare person who was specially chosen by God. Every one of us is Paul, a sinner who turns his/her back on God, and each one of us is also Peter, a coward who is willing to follow Jesus but when something happens decides so easily to run away. No matter how we are, God always tries to approach us through His only Son Jesus Christ, sometimes quite violently as Paul experienced on the way to Damascus, and sometimes very quietly and casually as He did to Peter. Which way would you prefer, a thunderbolt way or an invitation to a breakfast way? Me, maybe the latter. How wonderful it would be if Jesus invites me to his breakfast party on the shore even in my dreams!

It is truly a mysterious scene. Peter and other disciples went fishing in an evening. They tried all night, but they caught nothing, not even one fish. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the shore, veiled in the morning haze. The disciples didn’t realize it was Him. Jesus, from His side, calls out to the disciples, “Hey, you’ve caught no fish, have you?” They replied “No.” Then He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat. Now, what happened? They caught too many fish that they were unable to pull the net into the boat. With this miracle happened before their very eyes, they suddenly remembered it was the Lord. They had actually seen several similar miraculous signs performed by Jesus while He had still been with them. The first sign they had seen was at the Wedding in Cana. At the happy wedding, the wine was all gone, and Jesus asked the servants to fill the jars with water, and the water was turned into wine. Through this miracle, the disciples believed in Jesus for the first time. Later, there was another amazing miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. On a mountain, Jesus multiplied just five loaves of bread and two small fish offered by a little boy to the amount that satisfied way more than five thousand people.

Now, risen Jesus made a miracle happen before the disciples again in the same way as the time He was alive. When the disciples landed, they saw a fire of burning charcoals there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught. Let’s have breakfast.”

It is wonderful to know that God’s gift is available in the risen Jesus just as it was in the incarnate Jesus. But not only that; it makes us aware of one more important thing. That is, God always uses us to make a miracle happen. He needs our help. At the wedding in Cana, Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. At the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus made a little boy offer his lunch. And at the sea of Tiberius which is also called the sea of Galilee, Jesus tells the disciples to cast the net to the right side of the boat. It was not Jesus who caught 153 fish but it was the disciples who did it. They all equally followed the words of Jesus and acted upon God’s will no matter how awkward and unbelievable it seemed.

This reminds me of the episode of Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary written in the Gospel according to Luke. Young Mary had no idea what the angel Gabriel was saying to her that she will give birth to a son and that child will be called the Son of the Most High. However, Mary neither ignored the angel nor ran away. She carefully listened to the words and pondered them in her heart and said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

God always suddenly intervenes into our lives to show us His love and give us a glimpse of the kingdom of God. It is surely a beautiful scenery. But in order to see the sign, we can’t just sit back and wait. We are to accept God’s demands and move into action.

After breakfast, Peter is questioned by Jesus three times, “Do you love me?” He answers three times “Yes, I do love you”. And to that every answer, Jesus added His words, “Feed my lambs”, “Tend my sheep”, and “Feed my sheep.” We want to remember also that to love God and to become Jesus’ follower means to do something for God. For Peter, that something was to feed Jesus’ sheep: to spread the Good News of Jesus to many people as possible. What about you? If you love God, what do you think Jesus would like you to do? What does following Jesus mean to you? Let us continue to listen to the words of the risen Lord and live our lives for God.