Light does all sorts of things. It gives life to things like plants; it also spoils things like wine. We know that solar power is being utilized more and more. Light makes all kinds of things happen. In his Gospel, John gives a lot of significance to light vs. darkness, night vs. day. In our passage today, Peter and some other Apostles go fishing all night and catch absolutely nothing. (It had been three years after all, so maybe they were a little rusty.) But at dawn Jesus, the Light of the World, shows up and everything changes—they have a super-abundant catch of fish.
Light makes all kinds of things happen. And of course light effects what we see. It allows colors to shine but also can make colors fade. Its brightness allows clearer vision but can also hurt our eyes. And in the light we see things that would otherwise escape our notice, like smears or streaks on the windows. If we want to see how dirty our glasses are, we hold them up to the light. The same is true for ourselves as well. Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus, sees his shame when he looks into the Light. Yet looking to the Light and seeing the smears of sin and shame allows us to know what it is we need the healing power of God to cleanse us of. Jesus, the Light of the World, lived and died and rose to offer us forgiveness and redemption.
Peter had denied Jesus three times: “I don’t know him…I never met the man…I do not know what you are talking about.” And so Jesus asks him three times by name, “Simon, do you love me? Simon, do you love me? Simon, do you love me?” “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Then, “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow me.” Later on, after having his relationship with Christ restored and after having received the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter goes out and becomes the leader of the Church that God had called and made him to be. We see in our 1st Reading from Acts that Peter and the other Apostles cannot stop teaching about and witnessing to the Resurrection of Jesus which grants God’s People “repentance and forgiveness of sins.” This is despite all of the hardship and persecution that they face. In fact, they rejoice “that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.”
Of course, it is not just these Apostles who were given the mission of witnessing to Jesus and teaching about Jesus. And it is not just their descendants (the popes, bishops, and priests) who are given this mission. Each of us who have died and risen with Christ in baptism are given the mission of teaching and witness. Just as the transformed lives of faith of those first disciples enabled the early Church to grow, we here today cannot underestimate the impact that our own transformed lives of faith can have on those around us. It is not always easy work, and it is a life that can contradict our culture, but it is the work that we are given. It is the work of Christian charity /of Christian love.
Nothing really can change, though, either in us or in the world, without the presence of Jesus, the Lamb of God: the enthroned Lamb who John says in the Book of Revelation is worthy to receive power, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise; that same Lamb wo was “pierced for our faults” and “crushed for our sins;” the same resurrected Lamb who appeared to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, inviting them to share a meal and giving them a universal mission. Like with the Apostles on the beach, here in the Mass Christ gathers us around Himself and shares an intimate meal with the sinners He loves and calls out to with mercy and compassion, the same Lamb of God who invites us to share in the Eucharistic meal so that we will know His presence with us and be nourished and strengthened to work toward that same mission. Both collectively and individually, we must be willing to bring the garment of sin and shame to the Light of the World, for He asks each of us, “Do you love me? Then follow me through the Cross into new life.” Let us trust in the power of the Resurrection, and go forth with the Light of Christ guiding our way, for light makes all kinds of things happen.
©2017 St. Peters Catholic Church Huron Ohio.
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