The Apostles leave unscathed… again. Once again their preaching is challenged; once again, they do not relinquish the joy of the Good News but, instead, remind the Sanhedrin of their duty to God—something those officials should have also recognized for themselves. Their efforts to spread the Gospel will continue by the Grace of God. It is His Will.
Peter and the others decide to go fishing, and catch nothing. Then they spot Jesus on the shore. St. Gregory the Great sees an allegory in this scene. The Risen Christ, standing on solid ground, represents the stability and peace of His resurrected body while the tumult and despair in the boat represent part of the realities of our mortal lives. It’s an interesting contrast that invites us to draw closer to the Truths of our Faith. This is a vision worth remembering for those times when our lives seem more confusing and daunting like the Apostles in the boat.
Then there is the 153 fish. St. Jerome suggests that at the time of Christ, there were that many different identifiable types of fish and that this verse anticipates the Church gathering members from all nations of the world.
The most touching scene in the Gospel, though, has to be the profound display of Christ’s Mercy as he gives Peter the opportunity to renounce his three denials. John ties the two together well. He shows Jesus cooking the fish over a charcoal fire. There is only one other place in the New Testament when a charcoal fire is mentioned. It is in the Gospel of John (18:18). Peter voices his three denials while warming himself over a charcoal fire. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, then commissions Peter to shepherd His flock on earth. Remember the net that was full to bursting but did not break? The Church, with Christ ever present, is the same. In spite of turmoil and problems over the centuries, it still holds strong, without breaking. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.