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Cast Your Nets

First Reading: Acts 4:1-12

After the crippled man had been cured,
while Peter and John were still speaking to the people,
the priests, the captain of the temple guard,
and the Sadducees confronted them,
disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They laid hands on Peter and John
and put them in custody until the next day,
since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe
and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes
were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest,
Caiaphas, John, Alexander,
and all who were of the high-priestly class.
They brought them into their presence and questioned them,
“By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them,
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27A

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

Gospel: John 21:1-14

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.

NAB

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Fishermen are coming ashore after a long, unsuccessful night. A stranger on the shore encourages them to cast their nets one last time, something of a ridiculous idea—the sun is already rising, the time for a catch has passed. The fishermen follow the directive, and I imagine the skepticism playing across their faces until the net fills past capacity. At this moment, Saint John recognizes Christ. Saint Peter abandons ship to go ashore. The other disciples realize Jesus is in their midst when He invites them to break their fast with Him.

In our own lives, Jesus is standing on shore, asking us to put out our nets into unlikely waters so He can fill them. He is inviting us to His holy meal in the Eucharist. Do we hear His voice calling to us?

This process of learning to listen for the voice of Christ is the process of discernment. “The great movement of the spiritual life is from a deaf, nonhearing life to a life of listening,” writes the great Henri Nouwen. As we learn to listen for Christ’s voice, we begin to hear His call echoing throughout our days. More than just following divine directives, we learn to hear Him in our lives through relationships, creation, books, and in our own hearts.

Learning to hear Him isn’t easy. Like the apostles, today sometimes we may not even realize that we are following His call until we begin to see the bounty in our nets. The Fruits of the Spirit begin fill our lives: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

As we become aware of the Spirit moving in us, we can look back and see where the Lord was leading us. We recognize which choices opened our hearts to grace, who pointed us toward the action of the Lord in our lives, when Jesus was inviting us to break bread with Him on the shore.

He will tell us where to cast our nets. We just need to listen.

Where is the Lord telling you to cast your net? Will you recognize Him by His voice? Do you know Him in the breaking of the bread?

photo credit

Brigid Hogan loves the view of the Washington Monument from her apartment, her standing desk, the Green Bay Packers, and a good mystery. She tolerates taking the Metro to the office, where she works as a communications consultant. You can find out more about her here.

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