3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C.

Christ is always present; let’s follow Him.

Acts 5:27-32,40-41
Psalm 29:2,4-6,11-13
Apocalypse 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

It seems like the gospel John 21:1-19 leads to the first reading Acts 5:27-32,40-41, and then to the second reading Apocalypse 5:11-14. Peter having been re-comissioned, follows Christ in Obedience no matter the circumstance. The same Christ is described divinely in the Second reading.

In the Gospel John 21:1-19, it seemed as if Peter and the other six apostles has lost hope because Jesus is no longer with them physically. But Jesus appears and stood on the beach.

This shows that Jesus is still with them wherever they go. Whenever they gather, even in the ordinary endeavors. Mark the word “wherever and whenever.”

Meanwhile, they followed Jesus’ counsel and cast the net on the right side of the boat and caught so many fishes. And the same Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me,” which is followed by “tend my sheep and feed my sheep,” once and twice respectively. At last, Jesus told him, “follow me.” Jesus requires ardent followership and love from Peter, thus from us. No looking back.

Moreso, when it seemed that Peter and other disciples had forgotten their mission, because of the physical absence of Christ, Jesus assured them of his ever presence and re-comissioned them, and gave them bread and fish. Jesus always gives bread, and this points to the ever presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Moreover, following Jesus could sometimes be rosy and thorny. They followed Jesus’ counsel and caught many fishes,wow! But remember also that the apostles also followed Jesus’ counsel of “follow me” and faced the persecution of the Sanhedrin. In all, whether rosy or thorny, they followed Jesus’ and obeyed God. What of you?

This is what played out in the first reading Acts 5:27-32,40-41; amidst every persecution they followed Christ even when the high priest called Jesus “this man,” the apostles preached the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in their very before. What an audacity that comes from following Christ. An ardent followership.

Christ was troublesome to those in power and the apostles too were trouble makers in their eyes. True Christians will cause trouble for anybody defending injustice, and morally unacceptable laws like abortion, etc.

How many of us still resist evil whenever and wherever we find ourselves, or are we among the convenient Christians who say, “it doesn’t concern me, nor affect me?”

This Christ is the lamb that is described in the second reading Apocalypse 5:11-14 as the one who can open the book containing the answers to all those deep questions that come from human heart. He is the only one that can make clear the past, present and future and make sense of them. This is what comes from following Christ.

Christ is always present not only in the Eucharist but in the Word, and whenever or wherever we gather like the apostles in His name. Do you follow Christ?

In our families, do we still gather to pray in His name? Do we still teach our children the ways of Christ, the ways of truth, because that means following Him.

How many of us still reverently and worthily receive Jesus who is ever present in the Eucharist?

How many of us still nourish ourselves with Christ in the scriptures. Peter rather obeyed God than man. Only those who know God obeys Him. We can know Christ the God-man by reading the scriptures because ignorance of the scriptures is the ignorance of Christ. When we know Him, we live like Him in truth and spirit.

©Fr. Henrycharles Umelechi

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