Today’s Gospel starts with an image of hopelessness. Peter seems like one who does not know what to do with himself now that Jesus had died. It could be that he was still feeling guilty about betraying Jesus. This may be the reason why he wants to return to his previous lifestyle, so he decides to go fishing.
His friends go with him. They spent a whole night fishing but they caught nothing! Then Jesus appears and tells them to cast the nets once more. In the meantime, he prepares some food. “Come, have breakfast.” This is Jesus’ invitation. This is the invitation, he extends to us too, he invites us to the Eucharist. Today’s Gospel has several references to the Eucharist.
Like the apostles, there are times when we feel helpless, or with a heavy heart. It could very well be that this heavy heart is a result of some sin we made. Peter, too, had made a wrong choice. He had betrayed his friendship with Jesus, he denied the relationship he had with Jesus. At the end of the Gospel, we hear Jesus asking him, for three times, if he loved him. He asks this same question to us too. Did your children or spouse, ever ask you if you loved them? How did it feel?
At times, one may easily say, that he/she loves someone. Consequently, Jesus does not stop at the question. After Peter’s reply, Jesus gives him a task, so that he may translate his words into actions. Jesus asks Peter to “feed/tend his lambs/sheep.” Peter accepted both the forgiveness and the commission given to him by the Lord. And in fact, mass starts with an acknowledgement of our sins, and a plea for forgiveness.
In the offertory, we offer ourselves and our work, we offer bread and wine. These are changed into Jesus’ body and blood. The apostles offer their work, the fish that they caught, and as we know, the apostles not only continued their mission on Jesus’ footsteps, but they also had the courage to face martyrdom. They gave Jesus their all, and he gave them all the help that they needed.
Before sending Peter to “feed/tend his lambs/sheep,” Jesus sustains him with food. This is what he does with us too. Jesus knows that it is not easy to live a true Christian life. One meets with obstacles and difficulties. That is why, through the Eucharist, Jesus gives us the food that we need. The Eucharist is the food which gives us the strength to make the right decisions. At the end of the mass, the priest, sends us forth in peace. The Eucharist, and the Word of God, give us the strength and the desire to convey Jesus’ peace to others, starting from our own families.