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Posts Tagged ‘casting nets’


John 21:1-14: Throwing Our Nets Yet Again

Friday, April 28, 2017jesus-beach

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day six, Easter Friday, we hear John’s familiar story of Jesus appearing at the Sea of Galilee. The details in the story open doors of Easter joy and hope for us.

First, we choose a translation that speaks to us most clearly. Then we reflect. If we want to hear an audio version of today’s verses, visit the USCCB site. We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

In the MESSAGE translation, we see again that the disciples do not recognize Jesus when they first see him. Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has stood before us, and our eyes have not seen. The unwanted visitor. The neighbor who challenges us. The colleague who asks a question we do not want to answer.

Jesus asks the disciples to expect something new when he asks them to do something they have been doing for hours. Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has asked us to once more open ourselves to optimism when we have already given up on hope. The task we have already completed. The cause we believe to be dead. The optimism we see as pointless.

Jesus prepares a meal for his friends, and then he says, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has waited on us, served us, healed us and loved us. We recall the worries and anxieties that too often govern us. We remember the doubts and fears that too frequently control us. We remember the Easter promise of healing and transformation. And we look toward the end of John’s Gospel when he tells us, There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books. (John 21:25)

And we ask ourselves . . . can we recognize the Christ moments in our lives? Are we willing to muster the courage to throw our nets another time where we have already thrown them endlessly? Are we prepared to welcome the joy and peace of Easter? And are we willing to witness to these life-giving encounters with Christ so that others might live and believe?

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Third Sunday of Easter, April 14, 2013 Luke 5:1-11

Coming Up With Nothing

fishermen[1]In Luke’s description of the calling of the apostles, we find the crowds pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God.  There are boats by the lake side and as Jesus steps into one of them he asks the fisherman, Peter, to put out into the water.  There, a short distance away, he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.  When he finishes speaking, he asks Peter to put out in to deeper water in order to fish.  Peter replies: Master, we have worked hard all night and have come up with nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.  They catch a great number of fish, so many that the nets begin to tear.  Peter calls to his partners who come alongside to help them take in the catch.  There are so many fish that they were in danger of sinking.  Peter, James and John realize in that instant that the Messiah stands before them and also in that moment Jesus says to them – and to us: Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.  And when they came ashore . . . they left everything and followed him. 

Last week we closely examined the interchange between the risen Christ and his bewildered followers; today we look at Luke’s description of the apostles’ original call and find a foreshadowing of that later exchange and reunion beside the sea.  Perhaps it was this memory that called Peter and the others back to their nets and boats.  This we will never know; but what we do know is that Christ speaks and calls to us in the same way – especially when we are weary from having worked so hard for so long only to have our nets come up so empty.

This startling story is more than the words we see before us; it is an invitation to a full and fruitful life in the Spirit.  This familiar recounting is more than verses brought together by a writer two thousand years ago; it is an open door to salvation.  This Gospel is more than a sacred scripture; it is a guarantee from the risen Christ that when we find ourselves empty, alone, bewildered, overcome, bereft or betrayed that the best and most able of shepherds is with us as we steer our tiny vessel.

And so we pray to Jesus who first stepped into the boats of exhausted fishermen to transform them into fishers for the kingdom . . .

When we are physically, emotionally and psychologically weary, be with us are you were with your loved and loving followers in your days on the Sea of Tiberias.

When we have come up with nothing, have seen our life’s work erased, have exhausted every bit of our creativity and energy, be with us are you were with those you touched and healed in Galilee.

When we leave everything to follow you, sacrificing comfort and ease, be with us as you were with the faithful who returned to you and gave all they had and all they were in order to be close to you.

When we are empty, when we are full, when we are exhausted, when we are filled with the Spirit, when we leave all that we know to trust your call, keep us close, keep us constant, keep us in your love. Amen.

Tomorrow, “We also will come with you . . . “

For a devotional on this same citation, click the image above or go to: http://goodfaithblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/luke-51-11-bible-study-devotion-what.html

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – John 21:1-14

A Sea of Galilee Boat

A Sea of Galilee Boat

Leaping from the Boat

Continued from yesterday’s posting . . .

So they cast the net and they were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish . . . It is in that moment that John turns to Peter and says with quiet, unwavering certainty, “It is the Lord”.

Peter leaps into the water, the others pull the boat to the waterline, all rushing toward the man who stands by a charcoal fire on which fish are roasting and bread is waiting.

That voice that has called us so often for so long.  Why did we not recognized it at first?  Were we so tired and so consumed with our own worries that our hearts did not hear that voice we thought we would never forget?  And now that we stand here before the Teacher, do we admit that we doubted?  Do we tell him how much we worried?  Do we say that we thought he had gone for good despite his promise to never abandon us?  Of course, he already knows our questions and our misgivings . . . he knows all.  But might we say these words aloud all the same?

While we hesitate, Jesus invites.  He has no need of the fish in the heavy net and yet he says, calling us to share with him, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.  Come and have breakfast”.  John records that none of them dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.  Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.

And so, as the sun rises over the sea and a new day begins, we sit once again at the table of the gift of sustenance and self that Jesus so willingly, openly and lovingly gives.  We return to what is now our new “old life”.  We return to follow the Teacher.  He has told us that we would be fishers of men and still we thought that our old occupation of pulling fish from the sea was more reliable work.  Perhaps we knew all along that this would be our last casting on the sea.  Perhaps we wanted to return one last time to the old memory that has now spawned new futures. Perhaps . . . but now in our leaping from the boat we have made an irrevocable step.  We have decided to follow where the Teacher will lead.

As we continue our journey as Easter People, tomorrow, a prayer by the Sea of Tiberias . . .

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Monday, April 8, 2013 – John 21:1-14

3957687394_0e887e752b_m[1]It is the Lord

It is dawn and we are on the sea in a boat with seven of the Teacher’s followers who have returned to their former occupation after the events in Jerusalem during the last Passover.  We have been working all night and are bone-weary.  More than that, we have a certain uneasiness about how we are to continue to follow the Teacher now that he is risen.  Although we say little to our companions, we are anxious, confused, and drained.

Then from the shoreline comes that voice, calling, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” and we answer, “No”.  Again the voice calls out, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something”. 

What can this stranger mean?  We are experienced at this work and we have been casting all night.  How can moving the net from one side of the boat to the other make a difference in the catch?  Either the fish are below us or they are not.

With a quick exchange of glances and a nod from Peter, together the disciples shift the net to the opposite side of the boat.

So they cast the net and they were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish . . . It is in that moment that John turns to Peter and says with quiet, unwavering certainty, “It is the Lord”.

Let us spend some time today considering our own responses to Jesus’ call.  We might also want to visit the Jesus Boat Museum at: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/jesus-boat or go back to some of the sites on yesterday’s post.

Tomorrow in our lives as Easter People, leaping from the boat . . .

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Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2013 – John 21:1-14

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

Looking for the Lord

Jesus continues to appear to his disciples, encouraging them to join him in the work of kingdom building.  Still mystified by how they will fulfill this mission, they return to the profession they know . . . to their boats, their nets, and the Sea of Tiberias.  It is here that we find Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons John and James, and two others.  They have been fishing all night . . . and they have caught nothing.

Dawn arrives and they must be wondering what they are to do next.

When they made the decision to follow Jesus they had left their work as fishermen behind them, not questioning how they would earn a living.  They had followed the Teacher for several years until that sudden ending when they had last gone up to Jerusalem for Passover.  Jesus has returned, risen, wounded, yet whole, and he has visited with them, shared bread with them, told them they need fear nothing.  He has given them his blessing and God’s peace; yet they are uncertain what to do next in this new life of following the risen Christ so they have turned to their former occupation; but this once familiar work is proving fruitless.

They must be questioning all that has happened to them in the last several years.

We, like the apostles, will find ourselves casting nets into familiar seas yet coming up empty.

We, like the disciples, will return to places and relationships we once took for granted searching for strength yet finding little.

We, like all of Christ’s followers, will encounter the Christ just when and where we least expect to find him.

Let us spend some time today watching and waiting in Easter joy.  Let us carry our worries and fears to the risen Christ.  And let us look for the risen Lord in every detail of all that we do in his name today and all days.

In this Second Week of Easter we will examine our lives as Easter People.  Tomorrow, recognizing Jesus . . .

For some interesting facts about the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias today, go to: http://apinchofsalt-sonnleitner.blogspot.com/2010/07/week-30-sea-of-galilee.html or  http://www.this-is-galilee.com/sea-of-galilee.html or http://www.seetheholyland.net/sea-of-galilee-article-israeloutside-jerusalem/  or http://www.atlastours.net/holyland/sea_of_galilee.html 

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