THE MEANS TO DO IT

Friday within the Octave of Easter 

            Today’s gospel reading gives us another important resurrection appearance of the risen Christ. The disciples return to their former work – fishing. Most of them are fishermen by profession. Then Jesus, a carpenter, directs them, from the shore, to cast their net over the right side of the boat. Though they do not recognize their risen Lord, the disciples obey, and the result is a great catch.

            After that great catch, Jesus tells his disciples: “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” The Lord not only calls them to the meal but also provides the catch. What the Lord asks for is from what he has provided them.

            There is an important message in this for us: When the Lord asks something to us, he also gives us the means to do it. The Lord never asks us to resist temptation without providing a way to handle the pressure. The Lord never asks us to sacrifice for others without giving us the gifts that allow sacrificial giving. The Lord never asks us to take a public stand without giving us the strength to endure the arena. The Lord never asks us to endure a hardship without giving us the grace to handle the challenges. The Lord never asks us to share generously without giving us the ability and resources to give until it hurts, and until it hurts no more.

            Every contribution the Lord asks of us is drawn from the resources he has already provided. In whatever task the Lord calls us to perform, he gives us the grace to respond to that call. The Lord who calls us to be true disciples is the same Lord who gives us the power to follow him closely and faithfully. The Lord who calls us to be good stewards and generous givers is the same Lord who provides us with time, talents, and treasures we can use to serve our brethren and our community.

            As with the meal on the seashore in today’s gospel story, Jesus gives us the Eucharistic meal – his own Body and Blood – to be our strength for the particular mission he has entrusted to each of us – the quiet building of a piece of his kingdom he has planned for each of us.

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