Father Mark’s Pastoral Direction

The disciples spend a fruitless night, fishing and catching nothing. Things change dramatically when Jesus appears and invites them to try again. Let us remember those who came to us and encouraged us to try again when we felt discouraged. Perhaps on some of these occasions the results were beyond our expectations.

The story can serve as a reminder that sometimes we are wasting our time if we try to work on our own without the Lord’s help. When have we found that our work or life was more fruitful when we acknowledged that we needed God’s help and we spoke to God about our need?

Following his denials during the passion, Peter is given the chance to be fully reconciled with his Master. Let us remember those who have given us an opportunity for reconciliation after we had hurt them or let them down. What was it like for us to be given this chance? To whom have you offered the possibility of reconciliation?

The theme of light and darkness in John’s Gospel is strong. In today’s Reading, we hear that it was ‘just after daybreak’ when Jesus appeared to the disciples. The disciples had been fishing all night but caught nothing. Then, with the dawn, Jesus appears on the beach and gently suggests that they cast the nets on the other side of the boat. We are invited to reflect on resurrection here, moments where we were given a sense of new life, and with that, an abundance of gifts. Perhaps a friendship had broken down or we were dealing with a crisis. Like the disciples, we may have simply been going through the motions of day to day life, in the dark, without much enthusiasm. And then… daybreak. A gentle voice guided us, a friend or in a moment of prayer. In time, we realized that this was Jesus’ voice pointing us in the right direction, and once we allowed ourselves to be guided by Him, the ‘catch’ was huge.

The end of the passage sees Jesus ask Peter three times if he loves him. Peter is once again by a charcoal fire so this scene mirrors the three denials of Peter during the trial of Jesus. Peter becomes upset, and one can understand the regrets he must have. Yet here, Jesus is giving Peter the space to undo his denials. There is healing, new life. We can imagine Jesus’ question to Peter at the end of the passage being addressed to us: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?… Tend my sheep!’ Let us place ourselves in this story throughout the week.

Father Mark