Today, 3rd Sunday of Easter, we contemplate another apparition of Christ Resurrected, this time after evangelist Joan's most impressive chapter twenty first, all of it full of sacramental references, totally alive for the Christian community of that first generation, the same one that collected the evangelical testimony of the very Apostles.
After the Easter events, the Apostles seemed to go back to their usual chores, as if they had forgotten the Master had transformed them into “fishers of men”. A mistake the Evangelist willingly admits when he says that —despite having tried their best— «they caught nothing that night» (Jn 21:3). It was the disciples' night. All the same, the appearance, at dawn, of the Lord completely overturned everything. Simon Peter, that had previously taken the responsibility for the unprofitable fishing, now pulls the net completely full: one hundred and fifty three fishes is the outcome, a figure which is the addition of the numeric values of Simon (76) and of ikhthys (=fish, 77). Quite significant!
And, when, under the glorified Lord's protective gaze and with his authority, the Apostles exert, with Peter's primacy —explicit in the triple avowal of his love for the Lord— their own evangelizing mission, the miracle happens: “they fish men”. If out of their living environment, fish die, human beings also die if nobody brings them out of the darkness and of the asphyxia of an existence away from God and surrounded by absurdity, and take them to the light, the air and the warmth of life. Of Christ's life that He, himself, nourishes from the beach of his Glory, splendid figure of the Church sacramental life and, primarily, of the Eucharist. It is in the Eucharist the Lord gives us personally the bread and, with it, He also gives himself to us, as the presence of the fish suggests; fish, which for the first Christian community, was a symbol of Christ and, therefore a Christian symbol, too.