‘It is the Lord’

Third Sunday of Easter Year C

This reading shows us that the risen Christ retains his full humanity, including his concern for people in their day-to-day situations, however menial. Fr Adrian Graffy reflects.

John 21:1-19

1 Later on, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said, ‘I am going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We will come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
4 It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No,’ 6 he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you will find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in.’ 7 The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
9 As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. 10 Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ 11 Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

Other readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41 Psalm 29 (30) Apocalypse 5:11-14


This is the account of the final appearance of Jesus to the disciples in the Gospel of John. The longer version in the lectionary also includes the words of Jesus to Simon Peter: ‘Feed my lambs! Feed my sheep!’

The scene is simple. The disciples seem disorientated, engaging in their previous occupation of fishing. Have they abandoned any idea of going out to preach the good news? The risen Jesus comes to them as a friend and provides for their needs: their need to make a living, their need for breakfast. The risen Christ retains his full humanity, including his concern for people in their day-to-day situations, however menial. The offering of bread and fish is a reminder of the miracle of the loaves and fishes worked in chapter 6 of the gospel, which pointed to the Eucharist, the memorial of his cross and resurrection to new life.

Do I realise that in his resurrection Christ retains our humanity in all its ordinariness?

What does this appearance of Jesus teach us?

We pray for an appreciation of God’s involvement in each present moment.

We pray for the courage to let the gospel live through our daily lives.

INT-IMG_5349 Fr Adrian Graffy (3)Rev Dr Adrian Graffy is a member of the Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion in the Catholic Church.

Rev Dr Graffy said of his five-year appointment by Pope Francis in 2014: “It is an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel humbled and very much look forward to being of service to His Holiness and the Church.”

He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years by many co-workers to advance Biblical scholarship and the provision of easy-to-use resources. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis for their efforts to promote understanding and love of the Bible, particularly through the publication of the teaching documents, The Gift of Scripture and the study guide to Verbum Domini, The Word of the Lord.”

Rev Dr Graffy received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1983. He taught for over 20 years in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, and is Chair of the National Scripture Working Group, which is an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Fr Graffy is a past director of Brentwood’s Commission for Evangelisation and Formation and parish priest of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park, Essex. Among his publications are the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans (Alive Publishing).

Listen to BBC Essex interview with Fr Adrian Graffy