Gospel Reflection: Don’t Be So Absorbed In Your Feelings That You Miss What’s In Front Of You

by Gospels, Meaning of Suffering, Self-Knowledge

Gospel of John 21: 1-19

At that time, 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.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Gospel Reflection May 1, 2022

This week’s Gospel has always been interesting to me for a couple of reasons.  One is because of how frequently our sadness, anger, and frustration can result in our gaze turning inward which results in self-pity and pride. 

The disciples are sad about Jesus’ death and have now been fishing all night without catching anything.  Even though the cause of their grief is the death of Jesus, they do not recognize Him standing on the shore.  We can frequently become so absorbed in our own feelings and pain that we miss what is right in front of us.  In these moments, we need to remain focused outward and on God. 

The other thing that always strikes me about this Gospel reading is how we can almost always see how God was present in past suffering that we have endured, and yet we frequently fail to see God in the midst of our suffering as we are enduring it. 

In hindsight, we can often see how providentially God has guided us through past grievances, suffering, and pain, but we often forget that He is always present when we are actively in pain and suffering.  This is a very common and human occurrence since pain is intense and intense things usually have our full attention.  However, we need to stay as focused as we can on God even in the midst of suffering and pain. 

While we may not understand the suffering in the moment, we need to trust that God is present and that all will be revealed in the Resurrection.  If you find yourself turning inward or forgetting God in the midst of suffering, consider praying with the Gospel reading and place yourself in the place of the disciples as they suffered and Christ revealed Himself to them.

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