“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.” (John 21:3)
Once upon a time, Peter and his fellow fishermen worked all through the night and caught nothing. This was very strange. Given all his years of experience, Peter was so disappointed that night. Why did he fail woefully? Peter did not immediately realize that his failure was God’s special way of preparing him for his true vocation.
Dear friends, your failure in a particular task or field of endeavour could just be a blessing a disguise; that is, the fact that you failed when you least expected could be God’s way of calling you to something else. The question we need to really ask ourselves when failure comes is: “Am I doing what God wants me to be doing?” In other words, “Is this really my calling in life?”
Now, going back to Peter’s experience. The following morning, Jesus used his boat to preach. Afterward, Jesus asked Peter to put out a little from the shore and Peter protested: “Master, we worked all night and caught nothing…” (Luke 5:5). Peter was not expecting to catch a single fish yet he netted such a huge catch that he had to call other fishermen to help him. Peter knew this was not ordinary. He said to Jesus: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).
Now, after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter forgot what Jesus told him that fateful day. “From now henceforth, you will be catching men.” He wanted to return to his old profession only to be blessed with another night of failure. Can you possibly be disobedient to God and still expect to be successful in what you do? Can you abandon your calling in life and still hope to find happiness and fulfilment?
Jesus was waiting for the disciples on the shore. It was now the third time that He would be appearing to them after His resurrection. Jesus did not ask: “Why did you go out to fish?” Jesus did not quarrel with them but they got the message. That was the last time Peter or the other disciples went out to catch fish. Jesus made them understand that He is more than capable of providing for them.
This experience had a profound effect on Peter. From that time, he was ready to feed the flocks of Christ rather than his own stomach. He was determined to face any opposition to the preaching of God’s kingdom. In today’s first reading, we hear Peter saying boldly to the leaders of the Jews: “Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.” (Acts 4:10-11).
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I place my trust in you. May I never take any decision in life without first consulting you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Easter Friday. Bible Study: Acts 4:1-12, Ps. 118:1-2,4,22-27, John 21:1-14)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu