While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand.
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is "the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone." There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say:
His mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
His mercy endures forever. (R./)
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it. (R./)
O Lord, grant salvation!
O Lord, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
we bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and he has given us light. (R./)
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
The apostles went back to where they started, to Galilee, where they continued their work as fishermen. But their lives had been changed by their contact with Jesus, and when they met him by the lake-shore and recognised him, they hauled in the net at his advice, and took his guidance for their future. Many traits of a person’s earlier life contribute now to whatever may be their apostolate. These apostles must now go out as fishers of men.
Peter’s special trait as an impulsive, generous leader, leads Jesus to make him shepherd of the whole church. He may have three times denied Christ in the panic of the Passion, but his heart is loyal, and his personal experience of weakness makes him all the more suited to lead a church of sinners, on the way towards sainthood. Aspects of our own past too which we may tend to dismiss as trivial, can be turned by God into pillars of our future career.
In the same way, just as the disciples returned to their native place (Galilee) and to their old trade (fishing), we ourselves should not forget our own ancestry and heritage. We need not be ashamed of our past, nor feel crippled by any part of it. If we discover the grace of God in our own lives, we can pass on the reassuring message to others, that “the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.”
Some years earlier Jesus had called them away from being fishermen, inviting them to share in his work of drawing people into God’s kingdom. After he had been crucified, there was nothing to do but go back to what they knew best. Seeing no way forward they returned to their past. But like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus they were re-directed. The risen Lord now stood on the shore of the Lake of Galilee to renew the call they had heard some years earlier.
By his smiling invitation to have breakfast with him, he showed his unbroken friendship towards them, that they had abandoned at the time of his passion. The Lord is always inviting us like that. Even if we have failed in our friendship to him, he invites us to start afresh and cast our nets in a different direction. Our relationship with him is full of hope. Easter is when we recognize him again on the shore of our lives, calling us to follow where he is leading us.