Saturday, April 9, 2016

Homily for this 3rd Sunday of Easter

I can see clearly now the rain is gone; I can see all obstacles in my way.  Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind; it’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day!!  What wonderful lyrics from Johnny Nash taking us back to the seventies.

How true are these lyrics?  All of us want to see clearly; to be in focus.  Yet many obstacles prevent us from seeing clearly. 
As people of faith, we must remove those obstacles and see clearly by focusing on Jesus.
On this 3rd Sunday of Easter we have the third post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus to the Apostles.  It is a dramatic story that begins with the Apostles not able to see clearly; they do not recognize Jesus.  As they respond to him, even though they did not know him, and successfully catch 153 fish in all, suddenly Peter’s eyes cleared and he recognized the Lord.  So excited to see Jesus, he jumped into the water fully clothed.  Have we ever been that excited to see Jesus?
After Jesus served the men breakfast, he turned to Peter and began a dialogue that rehabilitates Peter and affirms his leadership of the Church.  We recall that three times Peter denied Jesus over a charcoal fire in the courtyard at his trial.  Now Peter, over another charcoal fire, with the risen Lord in front of him, seeing more clearly now, accepts the Lord three times: I love you, I love you, and finally, you know everything so you know that I love you!  Jesus tells Peter, feed my sheep.  Peter’s leadership is affirmed by Christ Himself, not because Peter knows the Catechism or Canon Law but because leadership requires a radical expression of one’s love of Christ, and love for one another.
Peter affirms this love in today’s 1st reading when he speaks boldly before the Sanhedrin and proclaims “we must obey God, rather than men.”  Yes, Peter is seeing clearly now and all obstacles are pushed aside. 
What about us?  Do we see clearly now, are all obstacles that prevent us from seeing and focusing on Jesus pushed aside?  There He is, waiting for us in the Tabernacle, standing on our own personal seashores, waiting to feed us, to lead us, to carry us home, all the way to Heaven.  How do we respond?  Are our hearts full of the love of Jesus and our fellow man like those nets; full to the point of breaking?  Do we live our Catholic faith robustly every day?  Do we demonstrate love of Jesus and neighbor in the everyday witness of who we are and what we do?  Only we can answer that.
Jesus, after He ascended to the Father, left us a Church with a hierarchy and a purpose.  Do I avail myself of all that Holy Mother Church teaches, believes and affirms?  When we get in that line for Holy Communion and say our Amen, does our Amen mean I believe Lord, I believe all that you and your Church asks of me?  Do I jump into the sea like Peter?
Stay with this Gospel this week; read it three times and pray with it; ask Jesus to help us see clearly now; to focus our whole being on Him and His Church.  And in our clear vision and focus, we too can feed His lambs and tend His sheep.
I will praise you Lord for you have rescued me; I do see clearly now; the rain is gone; you have removed all obstacles in my way!

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