The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
What does it mean to be a Christian? This is the question posed by this
Sunday's readings, and as you will see, there is no simple answer. In
our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Twelve are brought
before the Sanhedrin and beaten for preaching about Jesus, which causes
us grief. In our second reading from John's Revelation, Jesus, the lamb
of God, is placed a throne above all, for which we rejoice.
The real beauty of this Sunday comes with our Gospel, John's story of the resurrected Jesus appearing to Peter and the Apostles while they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. This is one of my absolute favorites, because it presents such an intimate portrait... Peter, not sure what to do at this point, says to the others, "I'm going fishing"... What a natural thing for him to do when he's troubled. Don't we all fall back on what's familiar when we don't know what else to do? Then there's Jesus, waiting for them on the shore, cooking them breakfast. Where else in scripture do we see Jesus cooking? A completely human act performed by our resurrected Lord. During this encounter Jesus asks Peter, "do you love me?". Jesus asks this question three times... an opportunity to for Peter to recant the three times he denied Jesus at the Crucifixion. The depth of the meaning behind this encounter is powerful, yet personal, and challenges us all.