Third Sunday of Easter

THE NEW NORMAL

By:  John Dalla Costa

Often, the opposite of faith is not doubt, but normalcy. We see this in today’s scriptures. The elders and leaders in Jerusalem are eager to get all this Jesus-mess behind them. They want to restore the social order that existed before his polarizing ministry enflamed hearts, and get back to business as usual after the turmoil of his despicable death.

The pull of normalcy also emerges in the Gospel, when the disciples return to their routine as fishermen. We can only imagine how emotionally spent each must have felt, after deserting the Lord at his arrest, denying him at his trial, hiding in a locked room after his death, and doubting the women who brought them news of Jesus’ empty tomb. They’d now seen the Lord for themselves, touched and ate with him, so all doubt has been dissolved. And then they went fishing.

We don’t know why their expertise failed them, but their nets came up empty. Like the establishment leaders in Jerusalem, the disciples seem to be assuming that what worked before the Resurrection would work the same afterwards. But everything had changed. When they turned from the futility of their everyday tasks and looked, they saw that Jesus was already with them. In that beholding, which involved both communion and obedience, they then caught more fish than they could handle, and took their tired bodies to shore to be fed by their Servant-Lord.

After the long, liminal wait of Lent, the agony of the Passion, and the exuberance of Easter, we are all facing the pull of things returning to normal. The largely indifferent world has put its leftover Easter chocolates on sale. We are back to work, onto exams, making our choices, and doing our usual duties. In that normalcy, which can be necessary, ordering and good, we must not allow routine to also tame the significance of the Resurrection. Like Peter and John, we must live our lives rejoicing as witnesses to hope and healing. Like the disciples, we need to undertake our normal tasks with the Lord intimately present to us, so every week becomes Holy Week.

Today’s Readings: Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19