April 14, 2023 – Friday in the Octave of Easter

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Do you also escape when you go through difficulties? Do you also hide and retreat when you experience failures and disappointments? Do you go back to your old and unhealthy coping or attitudes when you feel sad, angry, or broken hearted? These are some of our possible reactions when we face these realities in life because we don’t know what to do and where to go. This had been the situation of the disciples. Their hearts were filled with pain, disappointment, with frustrations and doubts.

The arrest of Jesus, his suffering and his death were so shameful and terrifying that they also hid themselves for fear of the Jews. Because of these negative experiences, they believed that they have failed the Lord, and so they themselves were failures.

Their immediate response was to go back their old self, to retreat and not to confront anymore what they were going through. Because they believed that they were failures, they succumbed to the temptation to go back to their old ways and that was to fish. They have been called from being fishermen to become fishers of people, yet, having a painful and horrible experience, they retreated, they were giving up.

However, all night they caught nothing. The “night” in the Gospel is very symbolic because it reveals to us that the disciples were in darkness and they couldn’t find light. They were hopeless. They wanted to give up. But, at dawn a stranger appeared on the shore and said, “cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” And they did, they trusted that stranger and to their surprise, when they pulled the net they could barely pull it back because there were plenty of fish.

Then, the “beloved disciple” recognized that it was the Lord Jesus. Jesus is alive and there waiting on the shore. This tells us too that once we have become intimate with Jesus, our heart will always desire for Jesus.

This inspired Peter to respond immediately and to come near to Jesus. Again, this was symbolically done. Peter let go again of his boat, that is, his old self. He jumped confidently into the sea of his past failures and frustrations because he knew that Jesus was waiting for him.

This reminds us that we might come to the point in our life when we feel hopeless and helpless because we have failed, because the situation is just too difficult, family problems are just depressing, our poverty is overwhelming, or our relationship with others have failed – and then, our immediate reaction is to retreat, to hide in our own failures and pain, to dwell so much on our problems, to go back to our old and bad habits, becoming fearful, anxious and mediocre – which means going into the darkness of depression, of sin rather into the light of hope and life.

Yet, Jesus calls us to we find meaning and joy even in the midst of pain, of failures and difficulties. Hence, the Risen Lord invites us today.

First, when we meet failures and difficulties, do not go back to the old unhealthy ways and old habits, which could only be our emotional reactions. Rather, pray and ask the Spirit of the Lord to give us courage and patience to confront what we are going through.

Second, as we face them, never think that you can do everything alone. The journey is lighter when we are with somebody whom we can trust, whom we can share our story. Find and build lasting friendship, build a deeper family relationship, invest in your relationships. When we are told to cast our net, to change the course of our boat and to change our life – go for it and trust the Lord because it might be in that direction that we will find the abundance of love and life.

Third, be always aware of God’s presence. Just like the beloved disciple let us always be intimate with Jesus. It is when we become more familiar with Jesus that we also become aware of his presence in everyone. Hinaut pa.


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