Gift: Fortitude (Courage)
Reading: 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. (John 21:10-11)
Observation: I am reading this morning that Jesus and his apostles provided the perfect symbol of the church in this story from the Gospel today. Jesus tells the apostles to keep fishing, even though they had not caught anything yet. To me, this represents the fact that the church in the beginning was struggling to make spread the good news, until they went back to see the direction of Jesus, which was to go and preach the good news to the whole world. It also provides a symbol of the fact that all races and ethnicities are welcome in the faith by the 153 fish, which was the number of all known species of fish at that time. Finally, when Peter brings in the net, which he does by himself by the way, in my opinion shows his sole authority in the church and since the net does not tear, it further symbolizes that the church should always speak with one voice.
Personification: Long-suffering (Positive Attitude) In light of all the attacks of the church lately in the media, it should make sense to focus on displaying the fruit of long-suffering or positive attitude. It is not just the church that I see being attacked but rather our whole body of Christ. The devil has found a way to separate the body of Christ from the original intention of Jesus, but it is our job to find common ground and pray that God will bring us back together. I can point to one major schism in the church in history, and I am sure there were plenty more that I am not thinking of right now. However, we in the church should always go back to the words of Jesus when he said that Peter was the rock that he would build his church upon. It is the authority of the successor of Peter that will be able to bring all of us together. We can each do our part in our place, but it will take the power of the successor of Peter to cast the net and drag us all back to the shore with Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace necessary to wait for your will to be done in the church. Please continue to grace our Pope Benedict with the wisdom and clarity to bring the whole body of Christ back into one family. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.