Today’s reading is John 21: 1-14 (NABRE):
The Appearance to the Seven Disciples.
1 After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.
2 Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”
6 So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
7 So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.
8 The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish.
9 When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
11 So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.
14 This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’” The Apostles had been fishing all night and had not caught one thing. We have all had these frustrating moments before. We work for a good cause and get nowhere. Sometimes we feel like we’re worse off than we started. The Apostles had a solution to this issue, however. They may not have known at first to whom they were speaking, but they solved their problem by conversing with and listening to Jesus. Another word for engaging in conversation with the Lord is prayer.
Prayer is the way that we receive all graces. It is the axis on which our life needs to rotate. If God created us, has given us endless gifts, and has given us a unique purpose in life to carry out His mission, we should clearly be in touch with Him. We can give thanks to Him, glorify His name, admit our faults to Him so that He may forgive us, or ask for graces for ourselves and others through petition. Prayer is necessary in the life of a Christian, and everything else in our lives should branch out from it.
Another thing about prayer is that it’s not a one-sided conversation. We must listen to Jesus as well, taking to heart and trusting in His Word. Only when we listen to Christ can we respond by carrying out the Will of God. The Apostles listened to Jesus when He called out to them, and they carried out His command after listening. Catching one hundred and fifty-three fish was the material reward. And the best part is, even though this reward made the Apostles happy, this was not what they rejoiced about. Rather, they rejoiced because they knew their Savior was there, and because they knew that He loved them. They immediately went to shore to be close to the Lord, and to enter into communion with Him. They received fish and bread from Him, and were satisfied physically and spiritually.
This is why prayer is so important! Prayer, our bond with Jesus, is what gives us eternal satisfaction and joy. Jesus showers graces upon us each and every day, and all we need to do is acknowledge Him, thank Him, and listen to Him, so as to unlock the greatest reward He has in store for us: an eternal relationship of love. Jesus gives Himself entirely to us unconditionally, without strings attached. All we need to do to be happy is to give ourselves fully to Him in return.
Today is Good Friday. Today, Our Lord gave Himself entirely for us. He gave His life, taking the pain of each and every sin we have committed, so that He could prepare to give us a home with Him in heaven. He gave up His life to give us life. That’s a lot of giving. Why don’t we do the same? Let us give Him ourselves completely. Give Him the love and attention that He deserves in prayer, after all the love and attention that He gives us. Rejoice in Him, as the Apostles rejoiced in Him, and as He rejoices in all of us. Shed tears for Him, who bears the weight of our sins today on the cross, as He sheds tears for us when we turn on Him. Let us always be listening to Him, as He always listens to us. Let us give Him a place at the center of our lives, because He puts us at the center of His.
Kevin Kearns ’20 is a freshman living in Thayer Hall.