Reflection: Third Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering


[1st Reading – Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Ps.29; 2nd Reading – Rev.5:11-14; Gospel – Jn.21:1-14]

The gospel today is speaking about the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.  It all happened by the sea of Tiberias where seven of Jesus’ disciples decided to go fishing at night.  Why did they go out fishing ‘during the night’?  Was it because they were still afraid of the Jews?  Or is the gospel writer trying to create some contrast between the disciples who were trying to ‘work during the night’ (alias “without light”, and therefore they seemed not to know what they were doing) and ‘the light’ that Jesus brought to them when he stood on the shore?

Jesus (which strangely they were unable to recognise – even though this was the third time that he showed himself to them and therefore they knew he was alive…) asked them if they have caught anything.  They replied that they have not, and this ‘stranger’ then tells them to throw the net to starboard to find something.  Again, it is strange how these ‘professional fishermen’ (as we know they were) who surely knew more about where to find fish, should know more than this ‘stranger’ on the shore because they were actually in the boat!  Yet, they followed this stranger’s advice – why?  Were they ready to try anything since they were so desperate because they had caught nothing for the whole night?  Or are these further signs that they were quite lost and confused?

The interesting thing is that as soon as they followed what this stranger suggested, they made the catch of their life.  They even had to enlist the help of other fishermen nearby to help them haul in the catch.  What is more, they recognised that it was Jesus who gave them the hint – they recognised his signs and his miracles.

Furthermore, as soon as they arrived ashore, they saw that there was some bread and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.  We are not told where Jesus got them from… and Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they had just caught to be cooked together with the ones he already had cooking.  Thus, it was not only about the things provided by God himself but also combined together with the fruit of their labour.  Jesus then invited them to “Come and have breakfast”.

We are told that none of the disciples was bold enough to ask this stranger ‘Who are you?’ for they knew quite well by then it was the Lord.  To confirm to them that he was the Lord, Jesus took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.  This was something that they had already experienced twice already with him (1) when Jesus fed the people with five loaves of bread and two fish and (2) during the last supper when he took the bread and gave it to them.  Yet, despite all these signs they still struggled to believe. Their faith still required to be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit … which they were soon to encounter at a later stage!

“Lord, your presence amongst your disciples was a sign that your word was true.  It was a sign that what you were telling them while you were with them, was all coming back to them after your resurrection.  Give us the same light so that we too can ‘recognise’ you amongst us.  Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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