Acts 5: 27-32, 40b-41 Revelation 5: 11-14 John 21: 1-14
What I just read from the Gospel of Saint John is not simply a retelling of another of the experiences that the Apostles of Jesus had of his rising from the dead. Rather, it is truly an account that is rich in both information and insight into what we are, as a body of believers, as Church. John wants us, and all who hear or read his Gospel, to understand this. Our Faith is not something that is only individual. Our Faith is to be lived and shared as Church. This has been true beginning with the Resurrection and has continued through the early years of the Church, during the centuries since, and certainly now.
Consider what is told to us in these brief words. Peter takes the initiative to go out and fish, to return to the trade that he and others had pursue. Recall, however, that early in Jesus’s ministry they were told that they were to be “fishers of men.” Peter, in this instance, takes the lead to begin this task and calls upon the others to follow.
But the Lord still needs to be part of this work. The Apostles catch nothing until he directs them. T\But they do not recognize him until they put their faith in him. It is only after that act of faith that they take in a great haul. Peter recognizes that he is stripped, nearly naked and thus dependent. Again, he take the lead in bringing the others to shore. This small community of believers then join in a meal that Jesus provides. There are clear overtones oft he story of the multiplication of the loaves. More importantly, there are overtones of the sharing of the Eucharist as they join in this meal. Clearly Jesus envisions his followers to continues as a community, as an assembly, as church. Peter acts as and is confirmed by Jesus as a leader. This is simply because when there is a group, there is also a need for a leader. This is what is shown to us today by St. John.
As we celebrate the Resurrection, we also celebrate the renewal of life in ourselves as individuals, but likewise in ourselves as a community of faith. Our Faith, as followers of Jesus Christ finds its strength and its renewal not just in an individual relationship with Christ but, more importantly, in the relationship that exists with us as a community of faith. That is why it is so essential that we come together in prayer and praise. It is this that emphasizes the importance of joining together in worship week after week. Genuine Christian, Catholic faith is expressed as a community of worship in the celebration of the Sacraments. The early Church community, about which we also heard today, serves as a model. It found its strength in the shared faith of one another. They came together as a community of believers.
We renew our faith as we come together and share in the Eucharist today. It is the faith we each declare individually, but it is, and must continue to be, a faith that is nurtured, strengthened and firmly declared by us as a church, as a community of believers.
It is in this manner that the close followers of Jesus and the early Church, as well as believers throughout the centuries up to and including ourselves, profess trust and conviction in a good and gracious God.