When I read that passage from the Acts of the Apostles,
my first thought
that things haven't changed a whole lot in 2,000 years.
authorities are still telling people—
telling laypeople and theologians and
and especially women—
to obey them instead of obeying
Fortunately, as with those first disciples,
some folks these days
stay faithful to God
by keeping on:
proclaiming the word,
and staying in the church speaking out.
faithful to God by walking
Then I read that passage
and hear that those voices crying out in praise are
creature in heaven
and on earth and under the earth and in the
everything in the universe.”
But our Catholic hierarchy
to excommunicate the divorced who remarry
and LGBT folks who live in
They continue to require Mass prayers in antiquated
unrelated to the spiritual experience of 21st century
And there's a long list of people they have silenced
applying Vatican II teachings
to theology and ecclesiology and
And then there's
that passage we hear from John's Gospel.
Scripture scholars agree that this
chapter, Chapter 21,
was written later and added on to John's
which really ended at Chapter 20.
They agree that just about every
detail in this appearance story
creates difficult problems
and leads to
For example, scholars notice that this passage
it's Jesus' third appearance,
but it's really the fourth one in
Some of them think the author left out
appearance to Mary of Magdala
because she was a leader in the early Christian
and the Johannine community
was arguing for Peter as the
Others think they didn't count Mary of Magdala
because, in that
culture, the witness of women didn't
Many scholars think that
this fish story at the end of John's gospel
comes from the same
as the story of the miraculous catch
at the beginning of Luke's
In that light, it's significant that both gospel writers
incident to teach about Jesus' call to follow his way—
the call to
that the meanings in this passage are deeply symbolic.
to go fishing, and his friends go along.
They catch nothing and they're
calling it quits.
Someone on the shore calls out to them: “Catch
That's a commonplace experience
for anyone who's ever gone
Back home in Fremont
in the hunting-fishing-trapping family I
grew up in,
we were regularly out on the water or on the ice
When we arrived at a spot,
we'd call out to the fishers already
there, “Catch anything?”
Or we'd get there first,
and the newcomers would
call out to us, “Catch anything?”
We were talking about catching fish,
Jesus is talking about catching people,
being “fishers of men,” as the
synoptic gospels put it.
And the disciples, without Jesus, catch nothing on
When he tells them to throw the net on the RIGHT side of the
they take in a huge catch.
Those 153 fish are symbolic,
Historians say that 1st century folks
believed there to be 153
species of fish.
Jesus' way catches
What follows the
breakfast on the beach
is the dialogue between Jesus and Peter,
be parallel to Peter's three denials in Chapter 18.
Peter professes his love
for Jesus three times,
just as he had denied him three times.
response is to call Peter to discipleship:
Keep on feeding and tending my
keep on following my
The call of the disciples,
like all calls—all vocations—
is a call to love.
It's a call to keep
Keep on learning and teaching and loving and
It's like people in love—
people with a vocation to companionship
They never stop thinking about and talking about
caring for their beloved.
It's like the spouse of a victim of
willing to suffer whatever is required
for the sake of the
It's like Pope Francis
and the growing mass of people
earth as our common home
and will not be silent about our
to change our selfish and wasteful habits.
It's like the
prophetic voices within our Catholic Church:
following the way of
following their consciences
in holy disobedience to unjust
obeying God, not humans.
It's like us, here, a gathering of Vatican
serious about discipleship
and living lives of commitment to
peace and justice,
the way Jesus
Everywhere we go Jesus is with us.
Thanks be to God!
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle,
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006