Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter: May 1, 2022

May 2, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“Feed My sheep.”

After Jesus’ second appearance to the Apostle, they still do not know what they are to do, so Peter decides to do what he did for a living before following Jesus, be a fisherman. Peter decides to go fishing and the others, still acknowledging him as the leader among Jesus’ disciples, follow him. They went fishing in the dark and caught nothing. As dawn broke, the “Light of the world,” the risen Jesus, was beckoning them from the shore. He told them where to fish and the Apostles followed Jesus’ direction and caught more fish than they could haul into their boat, yet their net did not tear.

The Apostles realized it was Jesus calling them and Peter jumped into the water to come to Jesus as quickly as possible. Jesus had the breakfast meal waiting, bread (symbolizing His body in the Eucharist), and fish (symbolizing the Body of Christ of those baptized into His life, as one). The 153 large fish the Apostles caught represents all the then known nations and peoples of the world. Jesus is calling Peter and His other Apostles to become “fishers of men,” to gather all into the Body of Christ (symbolized by the unbroken net holding all the fish).

In His divine mercy, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter answered each time, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you?” Jesus is forging Peter with each question for each of Peter’s three denials of Him during His passion. Jesus commissions Peter to “Fee My sheep.” Jesus establishes Peter as the visible head of His Church on earth, as the Vicar of Christ, as the first Pope. Jesus tells Peter that to follow Him means he will have to suffer, as Jesus suffered, and that Peter will give his life for the sheep of the Church, as Jesus did.

Do we love Jesus? Then, we are called to do the same, to fish for souls thirsting for Christ. To follow Christ and “feed His sheep” is not easy. It takes real Christians, like Peter, to follow Christ and “feed His sheep.” It means we must Love others like Christ loves us, we must have Compassion and Mercy for others like Christ has for us, and we must willing Suffer, like Christ suffered for us. Then, like Peter, our reward will be great in heaven.

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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