After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and He revealed Himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 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 as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered Him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on 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, for the quantity of 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 his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang 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, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying 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 and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
John 21: 1-14
(Tenth Eothinon Gospel)
Christ is Risen!
We know that most of the Disciples were fishermen. We also know that Jesus, by trade, was a carpenter. There are several instances in the Gospels, including the Tenth Eothinon Gospel, where the Disciples are trying without success to catch fish. Jesus, in each instance, tells the Disciples to recast the net, but on the other side of the boat, the “right side.” When the Disciples cast the net as Jesus directs them, they are not only successful at catching fish, but they catch a quantity of fish so great that the boats start to sink and the nets cannot hold the fish.
One lesson that I take away from this Gospel passage is that when we are open to doing something the way Jesus asks us to do it, we are more likely to have success, even abundance. The challenge for us is, “Are we open to doing something His way?”
Many times we try and fail at things in life. And when we fail, we try again, we try and think how we can improve. But how many times in our struggles and in our failures, do we invite the Lord in to be part of them? How many times do we surrender doing something our way and try it His way? The fact is, for many of us, including me, stubborn pride keeps us doing things our way, rather than surrendering and doing them His way. This is why we have problems in interpersonal relationships, why we don’t get along in our families, why our marriages struggle, and why our kids rebel. It’s because we’re obsessed with doing things OUR way, rather than doing them HIS way.
He tells us to forgive. We choose to hold grudges.
He tells us to trust. We doubt.
He tells us to give generously. We give begrudgingly.
He tells us to serve one another. We put ourselves first.
He tells to remember the Sabbath. We put other things ahead of worship.
He tells us to build one another up. We tear one another down.
He tells us to pursue holiness. We pursue fame and fortune.
He tells us we are of infinite value. We fight for equality.
Imagine if when Jesus told the Disciples to cast the net on the right side, that they had cast it on the left. Or if the Disciples had complained to Jesus that they were fishermen and He was a carpenter and what did He know about catching fish? Or had quit. They tried it His way. And it worked, and then some!
Imagine what the world could be like if we could do things His way, instead of our own. Imagine how your life could change if you started doing more things His way, instead of your own way. Yes, it would mean swallowing some pride. Yes, it would mean recasting a net you may already be tired of casting. But it could mean a phenomenal catch of fish. Or an incredible change in your life, your marriage, a friendship, a job, or your overall outlook on life.
After Your descent into Hades, the disciples despaired of Your Resurrection, as might be expected in Your absence, O Christ. They returned to their work; to their boats and nets, but they caught nothing. But You, O Savior, have been revealed as Master of all and commanded them to cast their nets on the right side. Immediately the word became deed, and they caught a great multitude of fish and found an unexpected meal on shore, of which they partook. Now make us worthy to enjoy the same food spiritually, O loving Lord. (Tenth Eothinon Doxastikon, Trans. by Holy Cross Seminary Press, 1991)
Are you open to trying things His way?