You know I love you!

Third Sunday of Easter

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.

A reading from the Gospel of John (Jn 21, 1-19) 

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. 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. 

When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” 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. 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. 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. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” 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. 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. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. 

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. At the beginning of today’s Gospel, Peter is like one who had lost hope; it could be because he thought that his betrayal was unforgivable, that Jesus had shunned him. Is there something, which is weighing you down? Is it making you feel that it is too grievous to be forgiven? Today’s Gospel is very clear, it is telling you that Jesus is calling you. Go to confession so that you can find peace in the sincere friendship with Jesus.
  4. Jesus lovingly, prepared food for the apostles. Family meals are special, they reflect the love we have for each other. Our full agendas do not always make it possible for the family to eat together. When ever possible, try to make family meals special and as frequent as possible. Let everyone do his part, so that everyone contributes to the preparation in one way or another.
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St John (21, 1-19)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with a white cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the readings and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 

After rising from the dead, Jesus continued to meet his friends, he continued to teach them, and eat with them, too.

  • Jesus takes care of us
  • A soft ball

You do a lot of things during the day, don’t you? What are some of the things that you do? (play, go to school, watch television, obey …) You are good children and you do a lot of good things. 

However, there are times when you do things which are not so good. I am not referring to mistakes or incidents. We do not do these on purpose. For example, you are walking and you are going to fall. You hold on to your brother and you both fall down and hurt yourselves. This is an incident. You did not hurt your brother on purpose.

Something which is very wrong, is when, for example, you are angry at your brother who messed up your game, and you push him hard from behind, and he falls down. This is not an incident; you did this on purpose. Do you know what we call this? It is a sin. Although we sin, Jesus continues to love us. Nonetheless, sin makes Jesus unhappy.

Once, Peter did something which was very bad. Peter sinned. When the soldiers arrested Jesus and took him in front of Pilate, Peter remained nearby. He was afraid that they would capture him too since he was one among Jesus’ best friends. When they asked him if he knew Jesus, Peter lied and he said that he did not. Peter lied three times, and for three times he said that he did not know Jesus. He said that he was not his friend!

When we sin, it is like telling Jesus that we do not want to be his friends. This makes Jesus sad, because he wants to be our friend. When we choose to do what is wrong, we are choosing to do something which does not please Jesus. Despite all this, Jesus looks for ways to make us friends with him again.

If for example, you did what we mentioned earlier, that is you pushed your brother and hurt him, do you find it easy to say that you are sorry? It is easier to say sorry, if our brother makes the first step and comes to speak to you and shows you that he has forgiven you? 

This is what Jesus did with Peter. Peter was sorry that he had lied, he was sorry that he said that he was not Jesus’ friend. Peter was sad. Jesus had died and he had not told him that he was sorry. Do you remember what Jesus said in today’s Gospel? Was he angry at Peter?

Jesus was not angry at Peter. In fact, he even prepared him food. Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. In this way, Jesus gave Peter a chance to tell him that he loved him and say that he was sorry. Then Jesus, asked Peter to take care of his friends, and to teach others about Jesus, so that others would become his friends too. 

This is what Jesus does with us too. At the age of seven, you will celebrate two sacraments. Sacraments are gifts from Jesus to help us remain his friends. One of these is reconciliation. When we go to confession, we tell Jesus that we are sorry. Like Peter, we have a chance to tell Jesus that we love him. The other sacrament is the Eucharist. Jesus prepared food for the apostles because he knew they were hungry. Food made them strong. When we receive the Eucharist, we would be eating special food. This food makes us strong; it helps us to be good and do what Jesus desires. 

Jesus asked Peter to take care of others. He also wants us to take care of others. He also wants us to tell others about Jesus and he wants us to continue learning about him. Now you are going to stay in a circle (adults included), you may sit down if you wish. Someone will throw the ball and who catches it, mentions how he/she can care for others, or how he/she can learn more about Jesus. Remember, that when we do this, we would be showing Jesus that we love him. The ball is then thrown to someone else. Continue passing the ball, until everyone has had at least three chances to say how he/she can care for others.
After playing this game, listen to, Love like Jesus.

Sign of the cross.

Thank you, Jesus, for always wanting to be our friend.

Pray the Our Father. In this prayer we ask God to give us the food we need and to forgive our sins. 

Did you know that Jesus knew how to cook? He knew how to cook on the BBQ! Let us listen to today’s Gospel.

  • Jesus took care of the disciples, now he takes care of us
  • Printout of today’s activity
  • Pencil
  • Colours
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Paper punch
  • 2 long kebab sticks

What do you remember from today’s Gospel?

Where did the apostles go? (fishing)

Did they catch any fish? (no)

Who spoke to them, from the shore? (Jesus)

What did he ask them to do? (to cast the nets again)

Did they catch any fish? (they caught many fish)

What did Jesus do, whilst they were fishing? (he cooked some fish)

Jesus knew, that after fishing throughout the whole night, the apostles would be hungry, so he prepared some fish and bread. Jesus loved the apostles and took good care of them.

Do you remember what Peter had did after the soldiers arrested Jesus? When he was asked if he knew Jesus, he lied and said that he did not! For sure, afterwards, Peter was very sorry. When he saw Jesus, he could have felt confused regarding how to behave. Jesus knew that Peter was finding it difficult to say that he was sorry and so he made it easier for him, and asked him if he loved him.

How many times, did he ask him? (three times)

How do you feel, if someone repeats the same question?

If mummy or daddy asked you three times, if you loved them, how would you feel?

How do you think Peter felt?

Jesus asked Peter three times, because Peter had denied him three times. Peter had the occasion of making up for the wrong that he had done. However, this was not enough. Sometimes it is quite easy to tell mummy or daddy that you love them, words are easy to say. Words can also be meaningless if we do not also show them that we love them. 

For this reason Jesus told Peter to take care of ‘his lambs/sheep.’ Jesus wanted to tell him: “if you really love me, take care of those who believe in me, and teach others about me, so they will know me too”. 

Jesus expects the same thing from us. If Jesus was to ask you “do you love me?” what would you answer? He asked Peter to care for his sheep. What will Jesus ask you to do?

In today’s activity, you have some fish which you may hang up, when you are ready. On the fish you have statements showing how Jesus shows you that he loves and cares for you. Cut out the fish and punch a hole at the top. On the other side, write what you can do to show Jesus that you love him. Afterwards you may colour the fish. Tie the kebab sticks together to form a cross. Cut string in different lengths and hand the fish from them. Tie the other end of the string onto the kebab sticks and hand this mobile, in your room, so that you remember what you learnt today.
Whilst drawing the fish, listen to, I’m trying to be like Jesus.

Sign of the cross.

Dear Jesus, I want to show you that I love you. Help me so that every day I spend time with you in prayer, remind me that when I love others, and when I help them, I would be doing this with you. Jesus, help me to show you that I love you. Amen.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.