Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings 1 May-2022: 3rd Sunday of Eastertide
Posted on 04/30/2022 8:46:29 PM PDT by Cronos
3rd Sunday of Eastertide
St John Nepomucene, Pisek, ND
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: White
We are witnesses to all this: we and the Holy Spirit
The high priest demanded an explanation of the Apostles. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’ They warned the apostles not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.
The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given riches and power
In my vision, I, John, heard the sound of an immense number of angels gathered round the throne and the animals and the elders; there were ten thousand times ten thousand of them and thousands upon thousands, shouting, ‘The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing.’ Then I heard all the living things in creation – everything that lives in the air, and on the ground, and under the ground, and in the sea, crying, ‘To the One who is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honour, glory and power, for ever and ever.’ And the four animals said, ‘Amen’; and the elders prostrated themselves to worship.
Lord Jesus, explain the Scriptures to us.
Make our hearts burn within us as you talk to us.
Christ has risen: he who created all things,
and has granted his mercy to men.
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’
The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
You can also view this page with the Gospel in Greek and English.
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1. After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) The preceding words of the Evangelist seem to indicate the end of the book; but He goes on farther to give an account of our Lord’s appearance by the sea of Tiberias: After these things Jesus shewed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) He says, Afterwards, because He did not go continually with His disciples as before; and, manifested Himself, because His body being incorruptible, it was a condescension to allow Himself to be seen. He mentions the place, to shew that our Lord had taken away a good deal of their fear, and that they no longer kept within doors, though they had gone to Galilee to avoid the persecution of the Jews.
BEDE. The Evangelist, after his wont, first states the thing itself, and then says how it took place: And on this wise shewed He Himself.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) As our Lord was not with them regularly, and the Spirit was not given them, and they had received no commission, and had nothing to do, they followed the trade of fishermen: And on this wise shewed He Himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee; he who was called by Philip, and the sons of Zebedee, i. e. James and John, and two other of His disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing.
GREGORY. (Hom.) It may be asked, why Peter, who was a fisherman before his conversion, returned to fishing, when it is said, No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62.).
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) If the disciples had done this after the death of Jesus, and before His resurrection, we should have imagined that they did it in despair. But now after that He has risen from the grave, after seeing the marks of His wounds, after receiving, by means of His breathing, the Holy Ghost, all at once they become what they were before, fishers, not of men, but of fishes. We must remember then that they were not forbidden by their Apostleship from earning their livelihood by a lawful craft, provided they had no other means of living. For if the blessed Paul used not that power which he had with the rest of the preachers of the Gospel, as they did, but went a warfare upon his own resources, lest the Gentiles, who were aliens from the name of Christ, might be offended at a doctrine apparently venal; if, educated in another way, he learnt a craft he never knew before, that, while the teacher worked with his own hands, the hearer might not be burdened; much more might Peter, who had been a fisherman, work at what he knew, if he had nothing else to live upon at the time. But how had he not, some one will ask, when our Lord promises, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you? (Matt. 6:33) Our Lord, we answer, fulfilled this promise, by bringing them the fishes to catch: for who else brought them? He did not bring upon them that poverty which obliged them to go fishing, except in order to exhibit a miracle1.
GREGORY. (Hom. lxxxiv.) The craft which was exercised without sin before conversion, was no sin after it. Wherefore after his conversion Peter returned to fishing; but Matthew sat not down again for the receipt of custom (ad telonii negotium resedit). For there are some businesses which cannot or can hardly be carried on without sin; and these cannot be returned to after conversion.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) The other disciples followed Peter: They say unto him, We also go with thee; for from this time they were all bound together; and they wished too to see the fishing: They went forth and entered into a ship immediately. And that night they caught nothing. They fished in the night, from fear.
GREGORY. (Hom.) The fishing was made to be very unlucky, in order to raise their astonishment at the miracle after: And that night they caught nothing.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) In the midst of their labour and distress, Jesus presented Himself to them: But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. He did not make Himself known to them immediately, but entered into conversation; and first He speaks after human fashion: Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? as if He wished to beg some of them. They answered, No. He then gives them a sign to know Him by: And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. The recognition of Him brings out Peter and John in their different tempers of mind; the one fervid, the other sublime; the one ready, the other penetrating. John is the first to recognise our Lord: Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord; Peter is the first to come to Him: Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto Him, for he was naked.
BEDE. The Evangelist alludes to himself here the same way he always does. He recognised our Lord either by the miracle, or by the sound of His voice, or the association of former occasions on which He found them fishing. Peter was naked in comparison with the usual dress he wore, in the sense in which we say to a person whom we meet thinly clad, You are quite bare. Peter was hare for convenience sake, as fishermen are in fishing.
THEOPHYLACT. Peter’s girding himself is a sign of modesty. He girt himself with a linen coat, such as Thamian and Tyrian fishermen throw over them, when they have nothing else on, or even over their other clothes.
BEDE. He went to Jesus with the ardour with which he did every thing: And did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship. We must not understand here that Peter walked on the top of the water, but either swam, or walked through the water, being very near the land: For they were not far from land, but as it were about two hundred cubits.
GLOSS. A parenthesis; for it follows, dragging the net with fishes. The order is, The other disciples came in a little ship, dragging the net with fishes.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) Another miracle follows: As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. He no longer works upon already existing materials, but in a still more wonderful way; shewing that it was only in condescension1 that He wrought His miracles upon existing matter before His crucifixion.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) We must not understand that the bread was laid on the coals, but read it as if it stood, They saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on the coals; and they saw bread.
THEOPHYLACT. To shew that it was no vision, He bade them take of the fish they had caught. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Another miracle follows; viz. that the net was not broken by the number of fish: Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) Mystically, in the draught of fishes He signified the mystery1 of the Church, such as it will be at the final resurrection of the dead. And to make this clearer, it is put near the end of the book. The number seven, which is the number of the disciples who were fishing, signifies the end of time; for time is counted by periods of seven days.
THEOPHYLACT. In the night time before the presence of the sun, Christ, the Prophets took nothing; for though they endeavoured to correct the people, yet these often fell into idolatry.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxiv.) It may be asked, why after His resurrection He stood on the shore to receive the disciples, whereas before He walked on the sea? The sea signifies the world, which is tossed about with various causes of tumults, and the waves of this corruptible life; the shore by its solidity figures the rest eternal. The disciples then, inasmuch as they were still upon the waves of this mortal life, were labouring on the sea; but the Redeemer having by His resurrection thrown off the corruption of the flesh, stood upon the shore.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) The shore is the end of the sea, and therefore signifies the end of the world. The Church is here typified as she will be at the end of the world, just as other draughts of fishes typified her as she is now. Jesus before did not stand on the shore, but went into a ship which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. In a former draught the nets are not thrown to the right, or to the left, so that the good or the bad should be typified alone, but indifferently: Let down your nets for a draught, (Luke 5:4) meaning that the good and bad were mixed together. But here it is, Cast the net on the right side of the ship; to signify those who should stand on the right hand, the good. The one our Lord did at the beginning of His ministry, the other after His resurrection, shewing therein that the former draught of fishes signified the mixture of bad and good, which composes the Church at present; the latter the good alone, which it will contain in eternity, when the world is ended, and the resurrection of the dead completed. But they who belong to the resurrection of life, i. e. to the right hand, and are caught within the net of the Christian name, shall only appear on the shore, i. e. at the end of the world, after the resurrection: wherefore they were not able to draw the net into the ship, and unload the fishes, as they were before. The Church keeps these of the right hand, after death, in the sleep of peace, as it were in the deep, till the net come to shore. That the first draught was taken in two little ships, the last two hundred cubits from land, a hundred and a hundred, typifies, I think, the two classes of elect, circumcised and uncircumcised.
BEDE. By the two hundred cubits is signified the twofold grace of love; the love of God and the love of our neighbour; for by them we approach to Christ. The fish broiled is Christ Who suffered. He deigned to be hid in the waters of human nature, and to be taken in the net of our night; and having become a fish by the taking of humanity, became bread to refresh us by His divinity.
GREGORY. To Peter was the holy Church committed; to him is it specially said, Feed My sheep. That then which is afterwards declared by word, is now signified by act. He it is who draws the fishes to the firm shore, because he it was who pointed out the stability of the eternal country to the faithful. This he did by word of mouth, by epistles; this he does daily by signs and miracles. After saying that the net was full of great fishes, the number follows: Full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) In the draught before, the number of the fishes is not mentioned, as if in fulfilment of the prophecy in the Psalm, If I should declare them, and speak of them, they should be more than I am able to express; (Ps. 41:7) but here there is a certain number mentioned, which we must explain. The number which signifies the law is ten, from the ten Commandments. But when to the law is joined grace, to the letter spirit, the number seven is brought in, that being the number which represents the Holy Spirit, to Whom sanctification properly belongs. For sanctification was first heard of in the law, with respect to the seventh day; and Isaiah praises the Holy Spirit for His sevenfold work and office. The seven of the Spirit added to the ten of the law make seventeen; and the numbers from one up to seventeen when added together, make a hundred and fifty-three.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxiv.) Seven and ten multiplied by three make fifty-one. The fiftieth year was a year of rest to the whole people from all their work. In unity is true rest; for where division is, true rest cannot be.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) It is not then signified that only a hundred and fifty-three saints are to rise again to eternal life, but this number represents all who partake of the grace of the Holy Spirit: which number too contains three fifties, and three over, with reference to the mystery of the Trinity. And the number fifty is made up of seven sevens, and one in addition, signifying that those sevens are one. That they were great fishes too, is not without meaning. For when our Lord says, I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil, by giving, that is, the Holy Spirit through Whom the law can be fulfilled, He says almost immediately after, Whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. In the first draught the net was broken, to signify schisms; but here to shew that in that perfect peace of the blessed there would be no schisms, the Evangelist continues: And for all they were so great1, yet was not the net broken; as if alluding to the case before, in which it was broken, and making a favourable comparison.
12. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii) The fishing being over, our Lord invites them to dine: Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) John does not say that He ate with them, but Luke does. He ate however not to satisfy the wants of nature, but to shew the reality of His resurrection.
AUGUSTINE. (xiii. de Civ. Dei, c. xxii) The bodies of the just, when they rise again, shall need neither the word of life that they die not of disease, or old age, nor any bodily nourishment to prevent hunger and thirst. For they shall be endowed with a sure and inviolable gift of immortality, that they shall not eat of necessity, but only be able to eat if they will. Not the power, but the need of eating and drinking shall be taken away from them; in like manner as our Saviour after His resurrection took meat and drink with His disciples, with spiritual but still real flesh, not for the sake of nourishment, but in exercise of a power.
And none of His disciples durst ask Him, who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) No one dared to doubt that it was He, much less deny it; so evident was it. Had any one doubted, he would have asked.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) He means that they had not confidence to talk to Him, as before, but sat looking at Him in silence and awe, absorbed in regarding His altered and now supernatural form, and unwilling to ask any question. Knowing that it was the Lord, they were in fear, and only ate what, in exercise of His great power, He had created. He again does not look up to heaven, or do any thing after a human sort, thus shewing that His former acts of that kind were done only in condescension: Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii. 2) Mystically, the fried fish is Christ Who suffered. And He is the bread that came down from heaven. To Him the Church is united to His body for participation of eternal bliss. Wherefore He says, Bring of the fishes which ye have now caught; to signify that all of us who have this hope, and are in that septenary number of disciples, which represents the universal Church here, partake of this great sacrament, and are admitted to this bliss.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxiv.) By holding this last feast with seven disciples, he declares that they only who are full of the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit, shall be with Him in the eternal feast. Time also is reckoned by periods of seven days, and perfection is often designated by the number seven. They therefore feast upon the presence of the Truth in that last banquet, who now strive for perfection.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) Inasmuch, however, as He did not converse with them regularly, or in the same way as before, the Evangelist adds, This is now the third time that Jesus shewed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii. 3) Which has reference not to manifestations, but to days; i. e. the first day after He had risen, eight days after that, when Thomas saw and believed, and this day at the draught of fishes; and thenceforward as often as He saw them, up to the time of His ascension.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evang. iii. 25.) We find in the four Evangelists ten occasions mentioned, on which our Lord was seen after His resurrection: one at the sepulchre by the women; a second by the women returning from the sepulchre; a third by Peter; a fourth by the two going to1 Emmaus; a fifth in Jerusalem, when Thomas was not present; a sixth when Thomas saw Him; a seventh at the sea of Tiberias; an eighth by all the eleven on a mountain of Galilee, mentioned by Matthew; a ninth when for the last time He sat at meat with the disciples; a tenth when He was seen no longer upon earth, but high up on a cloud.
15. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
THEOPHYLACT. The dinner being ended, He commits to Peter the superintendence over the sheep of the world, not to the others: So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?
AUGUSTINE. Our Lord asked this, knowing it: He knew that Peter not only loved Him, but loved Him more than all the rest.
ALCUIN. He is called Simon, son of John, John being his natural father. But mystically, Simon is obedience, John grace, a name well befitting him who was so obedient to God’s grace, that he loved our Lord more ardently than any of the others. Such virtue arising from divine gift, not mere human will.
AUGUSTINE. While our Lord was being condemned to death, he feared, and denied Him. But by His resurrection Christ implanted love in his heart, and drove away fear. Peter denied, because he feared to die: but when our Lord was risen from the dead, and by His death destroyed death, what should he fear? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. On this confession of his love, our Lord commends His sheep to him: He saith unto him, Feed My lambs: as if there were no way of Peter’s shewing his love for Him, but by being a faithful shepherd, under the chief Shepherd.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii. 1) That which most of all attracts the Divine love is care and love for our neighbour. Our Lord passing by the rest, addresses this command to Peter: he being the chief of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, and head of the college. Our Lord remembers no more his sin in denying Him, or brings that as a charge against him, but commits to him at once the superintendence over his brethren. If thou lovest Me, have rule over thy brethren, shew forth that love which thou hast evidenced throughout, and that life which thou saidst thou wouldest lay down for Me, lay down for the sheep.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxii) Well doth He say to Peter, Lovest thou Me (ἀγαπᾶς diligis), and Peter answer, Amo Te (φελῶ amo), and our Lord replies again, Feed My lambs. Whereby, it appears that amor and dilectio are the same thing: especially as our Lord the third time He speaks does not say, Diligis Me, but Amas Me. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? A third time our Lord asks Peter whether he loves Him. Three confessions are made to answer to the three denials; that the tongue might shew as much love as it had fear, and life gained draw out the voice as much as death threatened.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii) A third time He asks the same question, and gives the same command; to shew of what importance He esteems the superintendence of His own sheep, and how He regards it as the greatest proof of love to Him.
THEOPHYLACT. Thence is taken the custom of threefold confession in baptism.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii) The question asked for the third time disturbed him: Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? He was afraid perhaps of receiving a reproof again for professing to love more than he did. So he appeals to Christ Himself: And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things, i. e. the secrets of the heart, present and to come.
AUGUSTINE. (de Verb. Dom. serm. 50) He was grieved because he was asked so often by Him Who knew what He asked, and gave the answer. He replies therefore from his inmost heart; Thou knowest that I love Thee.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv) He says no more, He only replies what he knew himself; he knew he loved Him; whether any else loved Him he could not tell, as he could not see into another’s heart: (non occ.). Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep; as if to say, Be it the office of love to feed the Lord’s flock, as it was the resolution of fear to deny the Shepherd.
THEOPHYLACT. There is a difference perhaps between lambs and sheep. The lambs are those just initiated, the sheep are the perfected.
ALCUIN. To feed the sheep is to support the believers in Christ from falling from the faith, to provide earthly sustenance for those under us, to preach and exemplify withal our preaching by our lives, to resist adversaries, to correct wanderers.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii) They who feed Christ’s sheep, as if they were their own, not Christ’s, shew plainly that they love themselves, not Christ; that they are moved by lust of glory, power, gain, not by the love of obeying, ministering, pleasing God. Let us love therefore, not ourselves, but Him, and in feeding His sheep, seek not our own, but the things which are His. For whoso loveth himself, not God, loveth not himself: man that cannot live of himself, must die by loving himself; and he cannot love himself, who loves himself to his own destruction. Whereas when He by Whom we live is loved, we love ourselves the more, because we do not love ourselves; because we do not love ourselves in order that we may love Him by Whom we live.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. Pass.) But unfaithful servants arose, who divided Christ’s flock, and handed down the division to their successors: and you hear them say, Those sheep are mine, what seekest thou with my sheep, I will not let thee come to my sheep. If we call our sheep ours, as they call them theirs, Christ hath lost His sheep.
18. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii) Our Lord having made Peter declare his love, informs him of his future martyrdom; an intimation to us how we should love: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest. He reminds him of his former life, because, whereas in worldly matters a young man has powers, an old man none; in spiritual things, on the contrary, virtue is brighter, manliness stronger, in old age; age is no hindrance to grace. Peter had all along desired to share Christ’s dangers; so Christ tells him, Be of good cheer; I will fulfil thy desire in such a way, that what thou hast not suffered when young, thou shalt suffer when old: But when thou art old. Whence it appears, that he was then neither a young nor an old man, but in the prime of life.
ORIGEN. (super. Matt.) It is not easy to find any ready to pass at once from this life; and so he says to Peter, When thou art old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hand.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii. 5) That is, shalt be crucified. And to come to this end, Another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. First He said what would come to pass, secondly, how it would come to pass. For it was not when crucified, but when about to be crucified, that he was led whither he would not. He wished to be released from the body, and be with Christ; but, if it were possible, he wished to attain to eternal life without the pains of death: to which he went against his will, but conquered by the force of his will, and triumphing over the human feeling, so natural a one, that even old age could not deprive Peter of it. But whatever be the pain of death, it ought to be conquered by the strength of love for Him, Who being our life, voluntarily also underwent death for us. For if there is no pain in death, or very little, the glory of martyrdom would not be great.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii) He says, Whither thou wouldest not, with reference to the natural reluctance of the soul to be separated from the body; an instinct implanted by God to prevent men putting an end to themselves. Then raising the subject, the Evangelist says, This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God: not, should die: he expresses himself so, to intimate that to suffer for Christ was the glory of the sufferer. (non occ.). But unless the mind is persuaded that He is very God, the sight of Him can in no way enable us to endure death. Wherefore the death of the saints is certainty of divine glory.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiii) He who denied and loved, died in perfect love for Him, for Whom he had promised to die with wrong haste. It was necessary that Christ should first die for Peter’s salvation, and then Peter die for Christ’s Gospel.
19. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21. Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv) Our Lord having foretold to Peter by what death he should glorify God, bids him follow Him. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me. Why does He say, Follow Me, to Peter, and not to the others who were present, who as disciples were following their Master? Or if we understand it of his martyrdom, was Peter the only one who died for the Christian truth? Was not James put to death by Herod? Some one will say that James was not crucified, and that this was fitly addressed to Peter, because he not only died, but suffered the death of the cross, as Christ did.
THEOPHYLACT. Peter hearing that he was to suffer death for Christ, asks whether John was to die: Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv) He calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved, because Jesus had a greater and more familiar love for him, than for the rest; so that He made him lie on His breast at supper. In this way John the more commends the divine excellency of that Gospel which he preached. Some think, and they no contemptible commentators upon Scripture, that the reason why John was loved more than the rest, was, because he had lived in perfect chastity from his youth up. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
THEOPHYLACT. i. e. Shall he not die?
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv) Jesus saith unto him, What is that to thee? and He then repeats, Follow thou Me, as if John would not follow Him, because he wished to remain till He came; Then went this saying abroad among the disciples, that that disciple should not die. Was it not a natural inference of the disciple’s? But John himself does away with such a notion: Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? But if any so will, let him contradict, and say that what John says is true, viz. that our Lord did not say that that disciple should not die, but that nevertheless this was signified by using such words as John records.
THEOPHYLACT. Or let him say, Christ did not deny that John was to die, for whatever is born dies; but said, I will that he tarry till I come, i. e. to live to the end of the world, and then he shall suffer martyrdom for Me. And therefore they confess that he still lives, but will be killed by Antichrist, and will preach Christ’s name with Elias. But if his sepulchre be objected, then they say that he entered in alive, and went out of it afterwards.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv.) Or perhaps he will allow that John still lies in his sepulchre at Ephesus, but asleep, not dead; and will give us a proof, that the soil over his grave is moist and watery, owing to his respiration. But why should our Lord grant it as a great privilege to the disciple whom He loved, that he should sleep this long time in the body, when he released Peter front the burden of the flesh by a glorious martyrdom, and gave him what Paul had longed for, when he said, I have a desire to depart and be with Christ? If there really takes place at John’s grave that which report says, it is either done to commend his precious death, since that had not martyrdom to commend it, or for some other cause not known to us. Yet the question remains, Why did our Lord say of one who was about to die, I will that he tarry till I come? It may be asked too why our Lord loved John the most, when Peter loved our Lord the most? I might easily reply, that the one who loved Christ the more, was the better man, and the one whom Christ loved the more, the more blessed; only this would not be a defence of our Lord’s justice. This important question then I will endeavour to answer. The Church acknowledges two modes of life, as divinely revealed, that by faith, and that by sight. The one is represented by the Apostle Peter, in respect of the primacy of his Apostleship; the other by John: wherefore to the one it is said, Follow Me, i. e. imitate Me in enduring temporal sufferings; of the other it is said, I will that he tarry till I come: as if to say, Do thou follow Me, by the endurance of temporal sufferings, let him remain till I come to give everlasting bliss; or to open out the meaning more, Let action be perfected by following the example of My Passion, but let contemplation wait inchoate till at My coming it be completed: wait, not simply remain, continue, but wait for its completion at Christ’s coming. Now in this life of action it is true, the more we love Christ, the more we are freed from sin; but He does not love us as we are, He frees us from sin, that we may not always remain as we are, but He loves us heretofore rather, because hereafter we shall not have that which displeases Him, and which He frees us from. So then let Peter love Him, that we may be freed from this mortality; let John be loved by Him, that we may be preserved in that immortality. John loved less than Peter, because, as he represented that life in which we are much more loved, our Lord said, I will that he remain (i. e. wait) till I come; seeing that that greater love we have not yet, but wait till we have it at His coming. And this intermediate state is represented by Peter who loves, but is loved less, for Christ loves us in our misery less than in our blessedness: and we again love the contemplation of truth such as it will be then, less in our present state, because as yet we neither know nor have it. But let none separate those illustrious Apostles; that which Peter represented, and that which John represented, both were sometime to be.
GLOSS. I will that he tarry, i. e. I will not that he suffer martyrdom, but wait for the quiet dissolution of the flesh, when I shall come and receive him into eternal blessedness.
THEOPHYLACT. When our Lord says to Peter, Follow Me, He confers upon him the superintendence over all the faithful, and at the same time bids him imitate Him in every thing, word and work. He shews too His affection for Peter; for those who are most dear to us, we bid follow us.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii. 2) But if it be asked, How then did James assume the see of Jerusalem? I answer, that our Lord enthroned Peter, not as Bishop of this see, but as Doctor of the whole world: Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following, which also leaned on his breast at supper. It is not without meaning that that circumstance of leaning on His breast is mentioned, but to shew what confidence Peter had after his denial. For he who at the supper dared not ask himself, but gave his question to John to put, has the superintendence over his brethren committed to him, and whereas before he gave a question which concerned himself to another to put, he now asks questions himself of his Master concerning others. Our Lord then having foretold such great things of him, and committed the world to him, and prophesied his martyrdom, and made known his greater love, Peter wishing to have John admitted to a share of this calling, says, And what shall this man do? as if to say, Will he not go the same way with us? For Peter had great love for John, as appears from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, which give many proofs of their close friendship. So Peter does John the same turn, that John had done him; thinking that he wanted to ask about himself, but was afraid, he puts the question for him. However, inasmuch as they were now going to have the care of the world committed to them, and could not remain together without injury to their charge, our Lord says, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? as if to say, Attend to the work committed to thee, and do it: if I will that he abide here, what is that to thee?
THEOPHYLACT. Some have understood, Till I come, to mean, Till I come to punish the Jews who have crucified Me, and strike them with the Roman rod. For they say that this Apostle lived up to the time of Vespasian, who took Jerusalem, and dwelt near when it was taken. Or, Till I come, i. e. till I give him the commission to preach, for to you I commit now the pontificate of the world: and in this follow Me, but let him remain till I come and call him, as I do thee now.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii) The Evangelist then corrects the opinion taken up by the disciples.
24. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii. 2) John appeals to his own knowledge of these events, having been witness of them: This is the disciple which testifieth of these things. When we assert any undoubted fact in common life, we do not withhold our testimony: much less would he, who wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:32) And thus the other Apostles, And we are witnesses of these things, and wrote these things. John is only one who appeals to his own testimony; and he does so, because he was the last who wrote. And for this reason he often mentions Christ’s love for him, i. e. to shew the motive which led him to write, and to give weight to his history. And we know that his testimony is true. He was present at every event, even at the crucifixion, when our Lord committed His mother to him; circumstances which both shew Christ’s love, and his own importance as a witness. But if any believe not, let him consider what follows: And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If, when there were so many things to relate, I have not said so much as the other, and have selected often reproaches and contumelies in preference to other things, it is evident that I have not written partially. One who wants to shew another off to advantage does the very contrary, omits the dishonourable parts.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. cxxiv. 8) The which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written; meaning not the world had not space for them, but that the capacity of readers was not large enough to hold them: though sometimes words themselves may exceed the truth, and yet the thing they express be true; a mode of speech which is used not to explain an obscure and doubtful, but to magnify or estimate a plain, thing: nor does it involve any departure from the path of truth; inasmuch as the excess of the word over the truth is evidently only a figure of speech, and not a deception. This way of speaking the Greeks call hyperbole, and it is found in other parts of Scripture.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxviii) This is said to shew the power of Him Who did the miracles; i. e. that it was as easy for Him to do them, as it is for us to speak of them, seeing He is God over all, blessed for ever.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
From: Acts 5:27-33
(Bracketed sections not included in this Sunday’s lectionary reading)
The Apostles Before the Sanhedrin
 And when they (the captain and the officers) brought them (the Apostles), they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them,  saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this Man's blood upon us."  But Peter and the Apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree.  God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
[ When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.
 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while.  And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men.  For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.  After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.  So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail;  but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" ]
The Apostles Are Flogged
 So they took his advice, and when they had called in the Apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.  And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
29. The Apostles' failure to obey the Sanhedrin is obviously not due to pride or to their not knowing their place (as citizens they are subject to the Sanhedrin's authority); the Sanhedrin is imposing a ruling which would have them go against God's law and their own conscience. The Apostles humbly and boldly remind their judges that obedience to God comes first. They know that many members of the Sanhedrin are religious men, good Jews who can understand their message; they try not so much to justify themselves as to get the Sanhedrin to react: they are more concerned about their judges' spiritual health than about their own safety. St. John Chrysostom comments: "God allowed the Apostles to be brought to trial so that their adversaries might be instructed, if they so desired. [...] The Apostles are not irritated by the judges; they plead with them compassionately, with tears in their eyes, and their only aim is to free them from error and from divine wrath" ("Hom. on Acts", 13). They are convinced that "those who fear God are in no danger, only those who do not fear Him" ("ibid.") and that it is worse to commit injustice than to suffer it. We can see from the Apostles' behavior how deep their convictions run; grace and faith in Jesus Christ have given them high regard for the honor of God. They have begun at last to love and serve God without counting the cost. This is true of Christian maturity. "In that cry "serviam"! [I will serve!] you express your determination to `serve' the Church of God most faithfully, even at the cost of fortune, of reputation and of life" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 519).
The Church often prays to God to give its children this resilience: they need it because there is always the danger of growing indifferent and of abandoning the faith to some extent. "Lord, fill us with that spirit of courage which gave your martyr Sebastian," his feast's liturgy says, "strength to offer his life in faithful witness. Help us to learn from him to cherish your law and to obey you rather than men" ("Roman Missal").
A Christian should conform his behavior to God's law: that law should be his very life. He should obey and love God's commandments as taught by the Church, if he wishes to live a truly human life. The law of God is not something burdensome: it is a way of freedom, as Sacred Scripture is at pains to point out: "The Lord is my portion, I promise to keep Thy words. I entreat Thy favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Thy promise. When I think of Thy ways, I turn my feet to Thy testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep Thy commandments. Though the cord of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget Thy law. At midnight I rise to praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances. I am a companion of all who fear Thee, of those who keep Thy precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of Thy steadfast love; teach me Thy statutes" (Psalm 119:57-64).
Conscience, which teaches man in the depths of his heart, gradually shows him what the law of God involves: "Man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His dignity lies in observing this law, and by it he will be judged (cf. Romans 2:15-16). His conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths. By conscience, in a wonderful way, that law is made known. [...] The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective standards of moral conduct" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 16).
Good and evil are facts of life. A person can identify them. There are such things as good actions--and there are evil actions, which should always be avoided. The goodness or badness of human actions is not essentially dependent on the circumstances, although sometimes these can affect it to some extent.
Like the eye, conscience is designed to enable a person to see, but it needs light from outside (God's law and the Church's guidance) to discover religious and moral truths and properly appreciate them. Without that help man simply tires himself out in his search; he seeks only himself and forgets about good and evil, and his conscience becomes darkened by sin and moral opportunism.
"With respect to conscience," Pope Paul VI teaches, "an objection can arise: Is conscience not enough on its own as the norm of our conduct? Do the Decalogues, the codes, imposed on us from outside, not undermine conscience [...]? This is a delicate and very current problem. Here all we will say is that subjective conscience is the first and immediate norm of our conduct, but is needs light, it needs to see which standard it should follow, especially when the action in question does not evidence its own moral exigencies. Conscience needs to be instructed and trained about what is the best choice to make, by the authority of a law" ("General Audience", 28 March 1973).
A right conscience, which always goes hand in hand with moral prudence, will help a Christian to obey the law like a good citizen and also to take a stand, personally or in association with others, against any unjust laws which may be proposed or enacted. The State is not almighty in the sphere of law. It may not order or permit anything it likes; therefore not everything legal is morally lawful or just. Respect due to civil authority--which is part of the Gospel message and has always been taught by the Church--should not prevent Christians and people of good will from opposing legislators and rulers when they legislate and govern in a way that is contrary to the law of God and therefore to the common good. Obviously, this legitimate kind of resistance to authority should always involve the use of lawful methods.
It is not enough for good Christians to profess PRIVATELY the teaching of the Gospel and the Church regarding human life, the family, education, freedom, etc. They should realize that these are subjects of crucial importance for the welfare of their country, and they should strive, using all the usual means at their disposal, to see that the laws of the State are supportive of the common good. Passivity towards ideologies and stances that run counter to Christian values is quite deplorable.
30. "Hanging Him on a tree": this is reminiscent of Deuteronomy 21:23: if a criminal is put to death "and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon a tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is accursed by God." This is a reference to crucifixion, a form of capital punishment which originated in Persia; it was common throughout the East and was later adopted by the Romans.
32. God sends the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him, and, in turn, the Apostles obey the indications of the Spirit with complete docility.
If we are to obey the Holy Spirit and do what He asks us, we need to cultivate Him and listen to what He says. "Get to know the Holy Spirit, the Great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification.
"Don't forget that you are God's temple. The Advocate is in the center of your soul; listen to Him and be docile to His inspirations" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 57).
[34-39. Gamaliel had been St. Paul's teacher (cf. 22:3). He belonged to a moderate grouping among the Pharisees. He was a prudent man, impartial and religiously minded. The Fathers of the Church often propose him as an example of an upright man who is awaiting the Kingdom of God and dares to defend the Apostles.
"Gamaliel does not say that the undertaking is of man or of God; he recommends that they let time decide. [...] By speaking in the absence of the Apostles he was better able to win over the judges. The gentleness of his word and arguments, based on justice, convinced them. He was almost preaching the Gospel. Indeed, his language is so correct that he seemed to be saying: Be convinced of it: you cannot destroy this undertaking. how is it that you do not believe? The Christian message is so impressive that even its adversaries bear witness to it" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on Acts", 14).
This commentary seems to be recalling our Lord's words, "He that is not against us is for us" (Mark 9:40). Certainly, Gamaliel's intervention shows that a person with good will can discern God's action in events or at least investigate objectively without prejudging the issue.
The revolts of Theudas and Judas are referred to by Flavius Josephus (cf. "Jewish Antiquities", XVIII, 4-10; XX, 169-172), but the dates he gives are vague; apparently these events occurred around the time of Jesus' birth. Both Theudas and Judas had considerable following; they revolted against the chosen people having to pay tribute to foreigners such as Herod and Imperial Rome.]
40-41. Most members of the Sanhedrin are unimpressed by Gamaliel's arguments; they simply decide to go as far as they safely can: they do not dare to condemn the Apostles to death; but, in their stubborn opposition to the Gospel message, they decree that they be put under the lash in the hope that this will keep them quiet. However, it has just the opposite effect.
"It is true that Jeremiah was scourged for the word of God, and the Elijah and other prophets were also threatened, but in this case the Apostles, as they did earlier by their miracles, showed forth the power of God. He does not say that they did not suffer, but that they rejoiced over having to suffer. This we can see from the boldness afterwards: immediately after being beaten they went back to preaching" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on Acts", 14).
The Apostles must have remembered our Lord's words, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).
42. The Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus were forever preaching, with the result that very soon all Jerusalem was filled with their teaching (cf. verse 28). These early brethren are an example to Christians in every age: zeal to attract others to the faith is a characteristic of every true disciple of Jesus and a consequence of love of God and love of others: "You have but little love if you are not zealous for the salvation of all souls. You have but poor love if you are not eager to inspire other apostles with your craziness" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 796).
The Sealed Scroll and the Lamb
 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,  saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!"  And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped.
11-14. The host of angels around the throne act as a kind of guard of honor proclaiming the sublime perfection of Christ the Lamb (v. 12); they list seven attributes which all point to the fact that he has everything that belongs to the Godhead.
After the song of the spiritual, invisible, creation, there follows the hymn of the material, visible, world. This hymn (v. 14) differs from the previous one in that it is also addressed to him who sits upon the throne. It thereby puts on the same level God and the Lamb, whose Godhead is being proclaimed. This marks the climax of the universal, cosmic praise that is rendered the Lamb. The emphatic "Amen!" of the four living creatures, and the worship offered by the elders brings this introductory vision to a close.
As in other passages of the book, mention is made of the role of the angels in heaven, particularly the worship and praise they offer God before his throne (cf. Rev 7:11), their role in putting God's plans into operation (cf. 11:15; 16:17; 22:6, etc.) and their intercession with God on behalf of mankind (cf. 8:4).
The Church has always encouraged special devotion to the angels (cf. "Lumen Gentium", 50). Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church clearly tells us about the existence of angels and about their mission to guide and protect us; cf. Exodus 23:20: "Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and harken to his voice." Echoing these words the Catechism of St Pius states that "by God's providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being [...]. (God) not only deputes angels on particular and private occasions, but also appoints them to take care of us from our very births. He furthermore appoints them to watch over the salvation of every member of the human race" (IV, 9). Devotion to one's guardian angel, a part of ordinary Christian practice, is something we learn as children and should keep up during our adult lives: "Have confidence in your guardian Angel. Treat him as a lifelong friend--that is what he is--and he will render you a thousand services in the ordinary affairs of each day" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 562).
The Miraculous Draught of Fish
 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, Nathaniel 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 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.
 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."  A second time He said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord, you know I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."  He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.  Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go."  (This He said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this He said to him, "Follow Me."
1-3. There are some very significant things in this account: we find the disciples "by the Sea of Tiberias", which means they have done what the risen Christ had told them to do (cf. Matthew 28:7); they are together, which shows that there is a close fraternity among them; Peter takes the initiative, which in a way shows his authority; and they have gone back to their old jobs as fishermen, probably waiting for our Lord to give them new instructions.
This episode is reminiscent of the first miraculous draught of fish (cf. Luke 5:1-11), where our Lord promised Peter He would make him a fisher of men; now He is going to confirm his mission as visible head of the Church.
4-8. The risen Jesus goes in search of His disciples, to encourage them and tell them more about the great mission He has entrusted to them. This account describes a very moving scene, our Lord together with His own: "He passes by, close to His Apostles, close to those souls who have given themselves to Him, and they do not realize He is there. How often Christ is not only near us, but in us; yet we still live in such a human way!... They, the disciples, recall what they have heard so often from their Master's lips: fisher of men, apostles. And they realize that all things are possible, because it is He who is directing their fishing.
"Whereupon `the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord!' Love, love is farsighted. Love is the first to appreciate kindness. The adolescent Apostle, who felt a deep and firm affection for Jesus, because he loved Christ with all the purity and tenderness of a heart that had never been corrupted, exclaimed: `It is the Lord!'"
"`When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes and sprang into the sea.' Peter personifies faith. Full of marvelous daring, he leaps into the sea. With a love like John's and a faith like Peter's, what is there that can stop us?" (St J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 265-266).
9-14. We can sense here the deep impression this appearance of the risen Jesus must have made on the Apostles, and how sweet a memory St. John kept of it. After His resurrection Jesus showed the same tenderness as characterized His public ministry. He makes use of natural things--the fire, the fish, etc.--to show that He really is there, and He maintains the familiar tone typical of when He lived with the disciples.
The Fathers and Doctors of the Church have often dwelt on the mystical meaning of this episode: the boat is the Church, whose unity is symbolized by the net which is not torn; the sea is the world, Peter in the boat stands for supreme authority of the Church, and the number of fish signifies the number of the elect (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St. John, in loc.").
15-17. Jesus Christ had promised Peter that he would be the primate of the Church (cf. Matthew 16:16-19 and note on the same). Despite his three denials during our Lord's passion, Christ now confers on him the primacy He promised.
"Jesus questions Peter, three times, as if to give him a triple chance to atone for his triple denial. Peter has learned his lesson from the bitter experience of his wretchedness. Aware of his weakness, he is deeply convinced that rash claims are pointless. Instead he puts everything in Christ's hands. `Lord, You know well that I love You" (St J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 267). The primacy was given to Peter directly and immediately. So the Church has always understood--and so Vatican I defined: "We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ our Lord. [...] And it was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after His resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all His fold in the words: "Feed My lambs; feed My sheep" ("Pastor Aeternus", Chapter 1).
The primacy is a grace conferred on Peter and his successors, the popes; it is one of the basic elements in the Church, designed to guard and protect its unity: "In order that the episcopate also might be one and undivided, and that [...] the multitude of the faithful might be kept secure in the oneness of faith and communion, He set Blessed Peter over the rest of the Apostles, and fixed in him the abiding principle of this twofold unity, and its visible foundation" ("Pastor Aeternus, Dz-Sch 3051"; cf. Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 18). Therefore, the primacy of Peter is perpetuated in each of his successors: this is something which Christ disposed; it is not based on human legislation or custom.
By virtue of the primacy, Peter, and each of his successors, is the shepherd of the whole Church and vicar of Christ on earth, because he exercises vicariously Christ's own authority. Love for the Pope, whom St. Catherine of Siena used to call "the sweet Christ on earth", should express itself in prayer, sacrifice and obedience. 18-19. According to Tradition, St. Peter followed his Master to the point of dying by crucifixion, head downwards, "Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome during Nero's persecution of Christians, which took place between the years 64 and 68. St. Clement, the successor of the same Peter in the See of the Church of Rome, recalls this when, writing to the Corinthians, he puts before them `the generous example of these two athletes': `due to jealousy and envy, those who were the principal and holiest columns suffered persecution and fought the fight unto death'" (Pope Paul VI, "Petrum Et Paulum").
"Follow Me!": these words would have reminded the Apostle of the first call he received (cf. Matthew 4:19) and of the fact that Christ requires of His disciples complete self-surrender: "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up the Cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). St. Peter himself, in one of his letters, also testifies to the Cross being something all Christians must carry: "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|1.||AFTER this, Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he shewed himself after this manner.||Postea manifestavit se iterum Jesus discipulis ad mare Tiberiadis. Manifestavit autem sic :||μετα ταυτα εφανερωσεν εαυτον παλιν ο ιησους τοις μαθηταις [αυτου] επι της θαλασσης της τιβεριαδος εφανερωσεν δε ουτως|
|2.||There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.||erant simul Simon Petrus, et Thomas, qui dicitur Didymus, et Nathanaël, qui erat a Cana Galilææ, et filii Zebedæi, et alii ex discipulis ejus duo.||ησαν ομου σιμων πετρος και θωμας ο λεγομενος διδυμος και ναθαναηλ ο απο κανα της γαλιλαιας και οι του ζεβεδαιου και αλλοι εκ των μαθητων αυτου δυο|
|3.||Simon Peter saith to them: I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing.||Dicit eis Simon Petrus : Vado piscari. Dicunt ei : Venimus et nos tecum. Et exierunt, et ascenderunt in navim : et illa nocte nihil prendiderunt.||λεγει αυτοις σιμων πετρος υπαγω αλιευειν λεγουσιν αυτω ερχομεθα και ημεις συν σοι εξηλθον και ενεβησαν εις το πλοιον ευθυς και εν εκεινη τη νυκτι επιασαν ουδεν|
|4.||But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.||Mane autem facto stetit Jesus in littore : non tamen cognoverunt discipuli quia Jesus est.||πρωιας δε ηδη γενομενης εστη ο ιησους εις τον αιγιαλον ου μεντοι ηδεισαν οι μαθηται οτι ιησους εστιν|
|5.||Jesus therefore said to them: Children, have you any meat? They answered him: No.||Dixit ergo eis Jesus : Pueri, numquid pulmentarium habetis ? Responderunt ei : Non.||λεγει ουν αυτοις ο ιησους παιδια μη τι προσφαγιον εχετε απεκριθησαν αυτω ου|
|6.||He saith to them: Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore; and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes.||Dicit eis : Mittite in dexteram navigii rete, et invenietis. Miserunt ergo : et jam non valebant illud trahere præ multitudine piscium.||ο δε ειπεν αυτοις βαλετε εις τα δεξια μερη του πλοιου το δικτυον και ευρησετε εβαλον ουν και ουκετι αυτο ελκυσαι ισχυσαν απο του πληθους των ιχθυων|
|7.||That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved, said to Peter: It is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him, (for he was naked,) and cast himself into the sea.||Dixit ergo discipulus ille, quem diligebat Jesus, Petro : Dominus est. Simon Petrus cum audisset quia Dominus est, tunica succinxit se (erat enim nudus) et misit se in mare.||λεγει ουν ο μαθητης εκεινος ον ηγαπα ο ιησους τω πετρω ο κυριος εστιν σιμων ουν πετρος ακουσας οτι ο κυριος εστιν τον επενδυτην διεζωσατο ην γαρ γυμνος και εβαλεν εαυτον εις την θαλασσαν|
|8.||But the other disciples came in the ship, (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.||Alii autem discipuli navigio venerunt (non enim longe erant a terra, sed quasi cubitis ducentis), trahentes rete piscium.||οι δε αλλοι μαθηται τω πλοιαριω ηλθον ου γαρ ησαν μακραν απο της γης αλλ ως απο πηχων διακοσιων συροντες το δικτυον των ιχθυων|
|9.||As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread.||Ut ergo descenderunt in terram, viderunt prunas positas, et piscem superpositum, et panem.||ως ουν απεβησαν εις την γην βλεπουσιν ανθρακιαν κειμενην και οψαριον επικειμενον και αρτον|
|10.||Jesus saith to them: Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught.||Dicit eis Jesus : Afferte de piscibus, quos prendidistis nunc.||λεγει αυτοις ο ιησους ενεγκατε απο των οψαριων ων επιασατε νυν|
|11.||Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken.||Ascendit Simon Petrus et traxit rete in terram, plenum magnis piscibus centum quinquaginta tribus. Et cum tanti essent, non est scissum rete.||ανεβη σιμων πετρος και ειλκυσεν το δικτυον επι της γης μεστον ιχθυων μεγαλων εκατον πεντηκοντα τριων και τοσουτων οντων ουκ εσχισθη το δικτυον|
|12.||Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.||Dicit eis Jesus : Venite, prandete. Et nemo audebat discumbentium interrogare eum : Tu quis es ? scientes, quia Dominus est.||λεγει αυτοις ο ιησους δευτε αριστησατε ουδεις δε ετολμα των μαθητων εξετασαι αυτον συ τις ει ειδοτες οτι ο κυριος εστιν|
|13.||And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner.||Et venit Jesus, et accipit panem, et dat eis, et piscem similiter.||ερχεται ουν ο ιησους και λαμβανει τον αρτον και διδωσιν αυτοις και το οψαριον ομοιως|
|14.||This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.||Hoc jam tertio manifestatus est Jesus discipulis suis cum resurrexisset a mortuis.||τουτο ηδη τριτον εφανερωθη ο ιησους τοις μαθηταις αυτου εγερθεις εκ νεκρων|
|15.||When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.||Cum ergo prandissent, dicit Simoni Petro Jesus : Simon Joannis, diligis me plus his ? Dicit ei : Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei : Pasce agnos meos.||οτε ουν ηριστησαν λεγει τω σιμωνι πετρω ο ιησους σιμων ιωνα αγαπας με πλειον τουτων λεγει αυτω ναι κυριε συ οιδας οτι φιλω σε λεγει αυτω βοσκε τα αρνια μου|
|16.||He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.||Dicit ei iterum : Simon Joannis, diligis me ? Ait illi : Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei : Pasce agnos meos.||λεγει αυτω παλιν δευτερον σιμων ιωνα αγαπας με λεγει αυτω ναι κυριε συ οιδας οτι φιλω σε λεγει αυτω ποιμαινε τα προβατα μου|
|17.||He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.||Dicit ei tertio : Simon Joannis, amas me ? Contristatus est Petrus, quia dixit ei tertio : Amas me ? et dixit ei : Domine, tu omnia nosti, tu scis quia amo te. Dixit ei : Pasce oves meas.||λεγει αυτω το τριτον σιμων ιωνα φιλεις με ελυπηθη ο πετρος οτι ειπεν αυτω το τριτον φιλεις με και ειπεν αυτω κυριε συ παντα οιδας συ γινωσκεις οτι φιλω σε λεγει αυτω ο ιησους βοσκε τα προβατα μου|
|18.||Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.||Amen, amen dico tibi : cum esses junior, cingebas te, et ambulabas ubi volebas : cum autem senueris, extendes manus tuas, et alius te cinget, et ducet quo tu non vis.||αμην αμην λεγω σοι οτε ης νεωτερος εζωννυες σεαυτον και περιεπατεις οπου ηθελες οταν δε γηρασης εκτενεις τας χειρας σου και αλλος σε ζωσει και οισει οπου ου θελεις|
|19.||And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.||Hoc autem dixit significans qua morte clarificaturus esset Deum. Et cum hoc dixisset, dicit ei : Sequere me.||τουτο δε ειπεν σημαινων ποιω θανατω δοξασει τον θεον και τουτο ειπων λεγει αυτω ακολουθει μοι|
Two aspects of this passage do not translate well.
The first two times Christ asks "lovest thou me" using the verb "agapo", "αγαπας με", yet St. Peter responds using a different verb, "φιλω σε". The third time both Jesus and St. Peter use the second verb, "φιλεις με" -- "φιλω σε". The former verb indicates a spiritual love, and the second, friendship.
The three charges are all worded differently (the English translation only picks up two variations). "βοσκε τα αρνια μου" is "feed my lambs", "ποιμαινε τα προβατα μου" is "shepherd (guide) my sheep", and finally "βοσκε τα προβατα μου" -- "feed my sheep"
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