HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[John 21:1–17]

AT the command of their Lord, the apostles left Jerusalem and went into Galilee.

“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. 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. When the morning was come Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus, therefore, said to them: “Children, have you any meat?” They answered Him: “No!” 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 fish. Then John said to Peter: “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard this, he cast himself into the sea, and swam to the shore. But the other disciples came in the ship, dragging the net with the fishes. On the land they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon and bread. Jesus saith: “Bring hither the fishes which you have now caught.” Peter went up, and drew the net to land with one hundred and fifty-three great fishes in it, and yet the net was not broken. Jesus saith: “Come and dine”; and He giveth them first bread and then fish.

And after they had eaten, our Lord said to Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these?” Peter answered: “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Jesus said to him: “Feed My lambs!” Then our Lord said to him again: “Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?” Peter again replied: “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” And Jesus spoke to him again: “Feed My lambs!” Then Jesus, as though to try His apostle still further, asked him a third time: “Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?” Peter was grieved because His Divine Master seemed to doubt his love, and he answered warmly and earnestly: “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee!” Then our Lord said to him: “Feed My sheep.” “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.”

The Divinity of Jesus Christ is proved by this, His seventh apparition after His Resurrection: 1. by the threefold miracle which He worked, namely the miraculous draught of fishes, the marvellous feast, and the unnatural strength of the net which remained unbroken in spite of the weight of the 153 large fishes; 2. by the prophecy of Peter’s martyrdom, which was literally fulfilled by his crucifixion in the year 67. St. Peter also testified to our Lord’s divinity when he exclaimed: “Lord, Thou knowest all things!” for He who knows all things, and can read the secrets of the heart, is omniscient, and must be God, Who alone is omniscient.

The wonderful draught of fishes has a typical meaning. On the occasion when our Lord first called Peter to be an apostle, He worked a similar miracle (see chapter XIX). Now that He was about to confer on Peter the Chief Pastorship over His Church, He worked another miracle of the same kind, in order to bring home to him the work which he, as Chief Shepherd, would have to perform. The miracle worked before the Chief Pastorship was conferred on Peter is, therefore, full of typical and prophetical meaning. The lake signifies the world; the ship, the Church; the net, the doctrine of the Church. There was only one ship, even as there is only one Church of Christ. It was the ship of Peter; he governed it, and he drew the fish to land and brought them to our Lord. This signifies that Peter (with his successors, the Popes) is the visible head of the Church, and that, as such, he brings the faithful to our Lord in heaven (on the eternal shore). The number of the fishes caught shows that Peter (the Pope) and the apostles (the bishops and priests), working under his guidance, will gain many souls for Christ. The apostles had toiled the whole night and had caught nothing, till Jesus came and helped them in a wonderful way. This should serve as an indication to priests and teachers in the Church that none of their labours will produce any result, unless Jesus directs and blesses them. That the net, in spite of the number of fishes in it, was not broken, signifies that the Church of Peter will receive multitudes and nations into her fold and will be strong enough to contain and maintain them all in the unity of faith. The miraculous feast indicates that our Blessed Lord will comfort and strengthen His apostles in the midst of their labours, by His grace, and will some day refresh them at His heavenly banquet.

Peter’s Pastoral Office. Gradually and slowly our Lord prepared St. Peter for his high office. When Jesus saw him first, He promised him a change of name. “And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon, the Son of Jona, thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter” (John 1:42). Then He placed him at the head of the twelve and preferred him on many occasions. And when Peter had made his solemn profession of faith in the Divinity of Christ, Jesus fulfilled His first promise, saying: “Thou art Peter”, and added a further promise: “And on this rock I will build My Church, and to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven” etc. Again, at the Last Supper Jesus told him that He had prayed for him especially that his faith might not fail, in order that he might confirm his brethren. And now we have reached the climax. Our Lord commits to Peter the full and final charge of His whole flock, which comprises sheep and lambs, i. e. pastors or bishops and the ordinary faithful. Thus Peter was made the Vicar of Christ upon earth and Head of the Church.

Jesus Christ is our Lord. Jesus, speaking of the faithful, calls them “My lambs”. We are His people; we belong to Him, He is our Lord, because He has bought us with His Precious Blood. “You are not your own”, says St. Paul, (for) “you are bought with a great price” (1 Cor. 6:19).

Proof of true love. Each time that Peter assured our Lord that he loved Him, Jesus replied: “Feed my lambs.” Peter, therefore, was to prove his love for his Master by directing and teaching the faithful, i. e. the flock of Christ. In the same way parents, priests and teachers ought to prove their love for our Lord by leading those placed under their charge to the knowledge and imitation of our Lord, by instruction, discipline, and good example. He who loves the Good Shepherd must look after His lambs.

APPLICATION. Are you really grateful for being in the true Church of Christ? What sort of an answer could you give if our Lord asked you: “Lovest thou Me?” How do you show your love for Jesus? Are you fond of prayer? Do you faithfully fulfil the duties of your state in life, and your duty towards your parents, teachers &c.? Do you bear suffering with patience and resignation, for love of Jesus?








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com