Easter Octave, Friday, Apr 17

Acts 4:1-12 / John 21:1-14 
They catch 153 fish: The net didn’t break.

A preacher was fond of the technique of dividing his sermon into several major points. For example, he’d begin by referring to the “five smooth stones” that David used to defeat Goliath. Then he’d divide his sermon into five points. Or he’d begin by referring to the “seven days of creation” and then divide his sermon into seven points. One day his congregation nearly had joint heart failure when he began by referring to the “153 fish” that Peter caught in his net. Scholars suggest that the 153 fish stand for the number of nations of the world, which ancient historians placed at 153. Peter’s net stands for the Church, which is able to embrace all the nations of the world without breaking.

What are we doing to help the Church embrace all the nations of the world? The Church exists for the dual purpose of “gathering in” and “sending out.”
Just a week ago, we were right in the middle of the Paschal Triduum and there were so many things to prepare for and so many things happening. Well, Easter has come and gone, and unlike Christmas, there is not much festive mood about it, and there is no talk of having to lose weight after Easter. Anyway the season of Lent is already sober and sombre enough, with all that emphasis on prayer and penance and abstinence.

So things are back to normal and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus seems to be quite ordinary although it is often called the greatest celebration of our faith.

Even for the disciples in the gospel, things seemed to have gone back to normal and the ordinary. Even though Jesus had already appeared to them twice after His Resurrection, life hasn't changed much for them and they went back to fishing.

But then, even what they thought was ordinary and normal wasn't going to be anymore. They went fishing, and they were supposed to catch something but caught nothing. But it was in that emptiness for the ordinary that the Risen Jesus appeared to them again. And the gospel made it a point to say it was the third appearance of the Risen Jesus, and things are going to change.

So even though the celebration of Easter is over and things seems to be going back to ordinary, let us also prepare to encounter the Risen Jesus in the ordinary.

Especially even when doing ordinary things that don't seem to have much meaning. That's when Jesus will come up with something. That's what His Resurrection does for us - giving meaning to ordinary things.
Octave of Easter Friday: Liturgy


All evangelists underline the disciples’ difficulty of recognizing the Risen Lord. First, they do not realize that he is there, and that he is just like a stranger; then, usually as a consequence of a word or action, it dawns on them that it is the Lord; and those who love him most – today John – usually recognize him first. The Risen Lord is quite different in appearance from the Jesus whom they had known before his death and resurrection. Though their faith in the resurrection was difficult and slow, still it is the heart of the apostolic preaching: the risen Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith and our lives. As with the apostles, he stays with us when we are toiling. 

Penitential Rite
-You’re the stone which the builders rejected and yet has become the cornerstone of our lives, LHM
-As those who fear the LORD say, “His mercy endures forever.”, CHM
-As we proclaim that there is no salvation through anyone else, but through our Lord, LHM

Opening Prayer 
Our God and Father, through our Risen Lord, your Son, Jesus Christ, you have given us a message of hope and a person to live for. Free our faith from triviality and routine and fill us with his Spirit of courage, that we may learn to live with the insecurities of the change of renewal ever-demanded by the Gospel and by the needs of the times. May our Christian living bear witness to the name of him by whom we are saved, Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord.

A fine surgeon who was also a devout Christian once commented, the patient makes a speedy recovery after surgery, God gets the credit. But if things go badly, I get the blame.” Yet, it is commendable that the Christian conscience sees the hand of o in many events of daily life. It brings us closer to God and God closer to us. Many of the resurrection narratives find the disciples deferring to e risen Lord. In today’s reading from Acts of the Apostles, after the crippled man is cured and the crowds begin to gather, Peter speaks boldly and resolutely before the religious authorities, in claiming that the man was restored to health in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. The cornerstone of the new reign of God is Jesus himself; the stone that his own people had rejected is now the cornerstone. His words are both a reproach to his hearers and a clear affirmation of the resurrection. In the Johannine Jesus’ apparition at the Sea of Tiberias, the disciples have returned to their initial occupation. They set off with Peter in a boat to make a catch. Their nocturnal effort is futile, however. Only at daybreak, at Jesus’ direction, do they make a e catch. The impetuous Peter jumps into the water. As they enjoy their breakfast, it is clearly Christ himself who is the host and the one around whom the entire narrative converges. We do not want to reach a point in life where everything that happens is attributable to God. But we have all experienced those moments when our prayers are clearly heard and something deeply desired is realized. In acknowledging this, we utter a prayer of thanksgiving, a theme deeply woven into the prayer of the scriptures. It says nothing more than that we as people of faith believe that God is very close at hand. The first of the disciples to recognize Christ on the shore was the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved.” Recognition came as the result of fidelity. From the supper to the passion to the cross, this was the faithful disciple. Running with Peter to the tomb, he is the first one to understand its emptiness. Now seeing the figure on the shore, he says simply, “It is the Lord!” Faith must be steadfast. Faith gives understanding. This is the lesson of the beloved disciple. 

Points to Ponder 
The healing power of Christ God’s presence through the charity of others The prayer of thanksgiving Recognizing the Lord. 

– For the Church, that it may continue proclaiming the Good News of the Risen Lord and bearing witness to him, even if these annoy outsiders or even some of its own members, we pray:
 – For our Christian communities, that without fear we may live our faith openly and do what is right and good in the name of Jesus, we pray:
– For all and each of us that we may recognize with faith and love the presence of the Lord in one another, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts
 God, our Father, you put good words on our tongue and you fill our hands with good gifts; you entrust even your Son to us and place him in our hands. Through him then, and together with him, let us become to the world your word and your gift, your sign of hope, and make us capable of bearing witness to your love for people. We ask you this, in the name of Jesus, the Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord God, our Father, your Son Jesus, invited us today to come and eat the food of himself, which he had prepared for us. May we too, invite people far and near to share the table of the things we have and of the best that is in us – our love and compassion, our encouraging word, and our presence to one another. May this be the sign to those around us, that your risen Son lives among us, now and for ever. 

May we raise up one another and bring one another healing and peace in the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.