Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Third Sunday of Easter (Year C)

May 1, 2022 Views 169 Listen 7 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:27-32, 40b-41)

When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, "We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us."

But Peter and the apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors and raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and saviour to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13)


(R) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld, you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. (R)

Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment, a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing. (R)

Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me, O Lord, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Book of Revelation (5:11-14)

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice:

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing."

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out:

"To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever."

The four living creatures answered, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (21:1-19)

At that time, Jesus revealed himself 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 case 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 the 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 the 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."

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

A man who had been ill and bed ridden for a long time finally called a doctor. The doctor checked him and said, "You are in serious trouble. You are living with a terrible thing. From morning to night you are possessed by something evil. We must try to find what it is and destroy it. "Sshhh... Doctor", the man said, "You are absolutely right, but don't say it so loud. She is sitting in the next room and she might hear you."

We are Christians. We should not be possessed by devils. We should only be possessed by Christ Jesus as Saint Paul says in his letter to the Philippians (3:12). Here we must remember that our Lord Jesus does not seek to "possess" us as the Bible describes how demons possess people. When Christ takes possession of us, our lives begin to change and are transformed into His glorious image. However, we need first to seek to have His life in us before He could take possession of us.

From the scriptures we learn that Jesus made twelve appearances after his resurrection to different groups ranging from just one person to five hundred people, 1 Corinthians (15:5-6). However, the subsequent accounts of the resurrection appearances vary from one gospel to another and as well as from the letters of the apostles. According to John, today's gospel story was the third appearance of Jesus to his disciples. In last week's gospel reading we heard of Jesus' first two appearances. The first time, Jesus appeared to the disciples, was on the evening of the first day of the week as they were gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, John (20:19-25), but one of the disciples, Thomas, was absent. And a week later, when He appeared for the second time in the same place, John (20:26-29), Thomas was with them. Thomas seeing for himself the nail marks in Jesus' hands and feet, he believed.

There are several lessons we can learn and apply from today's gospel story:

  • John recounts that after the crucifixion and death of Jesus, the disciples were filled with grief and despair and hid themselves in fear of the Jews. It was while they were in hiding and praying together that Jesus appeared to them twice. This was the third time Jesus was appearing to them. This time, the disciples were fishing by the shore of the Sea of Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee. In essence, when Jesus appeared to His disciples they were doing mundane work. Yes. Jesus came when they had least expected Him.

    In fact, each time Jesus showed it was in a new and startling way. Each time He revealed Himself in a special manner and performed extraordinary works. These unexpected appearances of Jesus perhaps were subtle reminders to the disciples and to us that Jesus, who rose from the dead, is still alive and wants to be part of our life. Moreover, we can expect Jesus to show up when we least expect Him to. He can appear to us when we gather and pray together in His name. And He can also appear to us in secular settings - at our work, our celebrations, and while we are sharing joys or sorrows.

  • The disciples had been fishing all night but caught nothing which was unusual. As expert fishermen, they should know when to fish, where to fish and how to fish. They knew that night time was the best time for fishing. And yet this time had been very unproductive. They caught no fish. In the morning Jesus called out to them from the shore and asked whether they had "anything to eat, meaning fish that they had caught; and whether they had got a sufficient quantity to make a meal of for him and them. They answered no. They were then told to cast their net on the right side of the boat. And when they had done that, they hauled in 153 large fish. While some scholars note that there is no symbolic significance to the number of fish caught in the net there have been many theories about it. Some writers argue that there were 153 different species of fish in the Sea of Galilee, thus the catch became a symbol of the apostles drawing all kinds of people from every tongue, tribe and nation into God's family. But let us set that issue aside for now.

    The disciples' failure to catch any fish all night long is a subtle reminder to us that our attempts to accomplish something great on our own will fail, but that with Jesus all things are possible. Jesus may appear when we least expect Him to, but when we most need Him. But when He does appear, it is important for us to both recognize His presence in our lives and cooperate with Him to accomplish great things. All too often, the reason we don't recognize Jesus is because we're not expecting Him. Perhaps many times Jesus passes by, while reading the Bible, during prayer and worship, in the gathering of believers etc., but we miss recognizing Him because we are doing our own thing and not waiting on Him.

  • The disciples were busy fishing until they recognized the stranger on the shore was Jesus. But once they recognized him, they immediately steered their boat in his direction. In fact, Peter couldn't even wait to turn the boat around. When Peter knew it was the Lord he jumped into the sea and made his way to the shore. He was not afraid of any danger. Obviously, Peter's only thought was to get to Jesus. And this is what happens whenever we recognize and believe that "It's the Lord". When we take steps to get to our Lord Jesus, He casts out all fear, removes all doubt, and eliminates all obstacles so that we may reach Him and enjoy time with Him like the disciple enjoyed breakfast with Him for God wants to bless us spiritually, emotionally and physically. He wants to meet our every need in Christ Jesus.

Today, all we have to do is to pray like this: Lord Jesus Christ, please appear to us, as you did to your disciples and at the same time, help us to recognize you in our lives, even in adverse circumstances, and cooperate with you in your plan so that we can receive greater blessings from you.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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