THE APOSTLE THOMAS was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them in the Cenacle. When he returned, they told him they had seen the Lord, but he said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” A week later, when Thomas and the others were together in the Cenacle, Jesus again appeared in their midst, and greeted them:
“Peace be to you!”
Then He asked Thomas to make the tests he desired: “Bring here thy finger, and see My hands; and bring here thy hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.”
Now fully convinced, and utterly ashamed of his doubt, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus said: “Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Following Jesus’ instructions, the disciples returned to Galilee, where they resumed their life as fishermen. One morning, after they had fished all night in vain, someone called to them from the shore and said:
“Young men, have you any fish?”
It was Jesus, but their boat was a hundred yards off shore and they did not recognize Him. They told Him they had no fish, and He called to them: “Cast the net to the right of the boat and you will find them.”
Obediently they threw out a net on the starboard side and it was soon so full of fish that they could not bring it on board. John now knew who had called to them from the beach, and he said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
Ever impetuous, Peter slipped on his tunic, leaped over board into the water, and raced for the shore. The other disciples on board–Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, and two others–slowly brought the boat ashore; dragging the net with the heavy catch of fish. When they landed, they found a fire burning. A fish had been laid on to broil, and their store of bread had been brought out.
Jesus said: “Bring here some of the fishes that you caught just now.”
Simon Peter stepped into the boat and hauled the huge catch onto the shore. There were one hundred fifty-three large fish, yet, in spite of the size of the catch, the net had not broken.
When the catch had been put aside, Jesus said: “Come and breakfast.”
Then He took the bread and fish and handed their food to them. The disciples were overjoyed at this impromptu break fast on the beach, though they no longer dared to address Jesus familiarly as they used to: their onetime camaraderie had given way to awe and reverence, for they knew now that He was indeed the Lord, the Son of God.
As they walked along after breakfast, Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, son of John, dost thou love Me more than these do?”
“Yes, Lord,” said Peter, ”Thou knowest that I love Thee.”
“Feed My lambs.”
Again He said: “Simon, son of John, dost thou love Me?”
And when Peter replied as before, He repeated: “Feed My lambs.”
Now Jesus asked the third time, saying: “Simon, son of John, dost thou love Me?”
Somewhat grieved, Peter said, “Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Jesus replied:
“Feed My sheep. Amen. amen, I say to thee, when thou wast young, thou didst gird thyself and walk where thou wouldst. But when thou art old thou wilt stretch forth thy hands, and another will gird thee, and lead thee where thou wouldst not.”
And He concluded solemnly: “Follow Me.”
He had been speaking prophetically of the death Peter would die. Peter glanced back and saw John following them, and he asked, “Lord, and what of this man?” Rejecting this invitation to prophesy, Jesus said:
“If I wish him to remain until I come, what is it to thee? Do thou follow Me.”
But the disciples misunderstood these words, and the legend grew that John was not to die. Later, Jesus appeared to them on a mountain in Galilee where He had told them to meet Him. When they saw Him, they fell down and worshiped Him, though some doubted. But He approached them and said:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that l have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall condemned. And these signs shall attend those who bel1eve in My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak in new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall get well.”
Meditation: Three times Peter had denied Christ; three times Christ asked him, “Dost thou love Me?” The guilt of Peter’s triple denial was washed away in his triple protestation of love. After each of Peter’s three expressions of love for his Master, Jesus commissioned him, “Feed My lambs.” In these words he conferred upon Peter the headship or supreme command in the Church, which had been promised earlier. Sinful Peter was not only forgiven; he was given the highest office in Christ‘s Kingdom on earth, His Church. Can we doubt the fullness of God’s forgiveness?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 299-302. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, MA following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM. NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H. Winkler.