First of all, I would like to congratulate all those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation last weekend and all of our children who are making their First Communion this weekend.
Once, a gentleman was visiting his son. On Sunday when he went to church he took his little granddaughter with him. While they were in the church, the little girl was observing everything,. Finally they went to receive communion. Grandpa received communion and she got a blessing. On the way back to the pew she asked, “Grandpa, when am I going to get one of those?” Grandpa told her, “I will make sure in a couple of years you will receive First Communion.” She kept watching the priest, and grandpa knelt down and prayed. When the priest went to the tabernacle to keep the Blessed Sacrament, she asked grandpa, “What is he doing? Is he putting it in the microwave?”
I am sure all of our children are excited to receive the Eucharist, the Body of Christ. Look at the Cross, and it tells us how much God loves us. Look at the Easter Candle, and it tells us He loves us and wants to be the light of our life. Look at the Altar. Just as your parents feed you so that you can be strong physically, God feeds us from the Altar so that we can be strong spiritually. Children, at your First Holy Communion, Jesus comes to you for the first time in the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. He wants to give you/us nourishment so we can be holy.
We have the Gospel of John chapter 21 for this weekend. There are so many beautiful moments in this Gospel passage. Peter decided to go fishing and the rest of them followed him. They worked hard but they didn’t get anything. When they came back empty handed the Risen Christ was waiting for them on the shore with fish and bread. First they didn't recognize Jesus, but they followed his command and lowered the net and had a miraculous catch. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 5, Jesus was calling the first disciples. There is some similarity between these two passages. At the command of Jesus Peter lowered the net and had a great catch. This point Peter said to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Jesus' reply was, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” Peter was James and John followed Jesus. In the Gospel of John chapter 21, when John said, “It is the Lord” Peter sprang into the sea. He couldn’t wait to boat to get to the shore. When we look at these two Gospel passages we can see Peter’s transformation.
Jesus already had a charcoal fire with fish laying on it, and bread. He invited disciples for breakfast and it reminds us of the celebration of Eucharist. The ultimate invitation is to the heavenly banquet. Jesus took bread and gave it to them. They remember what Jesus did at the Last Supper and prior to that feeding the five thousand (John 6:11). During the Mass, before the Communion the priest says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” When Jesus called Peter, James and John the first time, Peter recognized the holiness of Christ and and his unworthiness. Here he jumped out of the boat and came to Jesus and joined for a meal.
The second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus commissions Peter to shepherd the church. Christ himself is the Good Shepherd. Now, he entrusts the care of his flock to Peter. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” Peter’s love for Christ is the evidence of his love of God's people. Peter had denied Jesus three times while warming himself at a fire as Jesus was being interrogated (18:25-27) and now around the charcoal fire Peter reaffirms three times that he loved Jesus. Each time Jesus told him “Feed my sheep,” “Tend my sheep” and “Feed my sheep.”
As we meditate this passage, let us pray in a special way for our shepherds: Pope Francis and Bishop James Powers. At the same time we all are called to be shepherds on a different level. Let us remind ourselves of our call and responsibilities and renew the spirit in the Risen Christ.