Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In the Name of Jesus Christ

April 17, 2009

Friday in the Octave of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

(When Peter and John were challenged by the authorities,) Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, "Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” (Acts 4:8-11)

The stone the builders has rejected has become the cornerstone. (Psalms 118:22)

… Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." (John 21:4-7)


Jesus, I do it all for you. Build on me as you will.


You can sum it up in three words: In Christ’s name.

In today’s Gospel reading, Peter tells a number of disciples he’s going fishing. They come along, but catch nothing. Jesus appears on the shore around dawn, but they don’t recognize him. He suggests they recast the net and, presto! they can’t even pull in all the fish they’ve caught. Imagine that!

The post-Pentecost Peter of today’s first reading is changed—forever. This is no longer the man who denied Christ three times or who couldn’t catch a single fish, even with help. This Peter is on fire. “You want to know why we do what we do?” Paul he brashly asks the authorities. We do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

The contrast and comparison brought to mind a speech I heard at a Christian writers’ conference last summer. The speaker, Barbara Hibschman, had the audience enthralled as she talked about the power and joys associated with the gift of writing for the Lord. We were all feeling particularly and especially blessed. Then Barbara brought the focus back to where it belonged. Never, never forgot whose work you’re doing and whose words you’re writing, she said. Remember that donkey that strode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He heard the cheers and applause and excitement and thought, “Wow! I’m pretty special!” He didn’t realize the glory was for the one he was carrying.

On his own, Peter wasn’t much of a leader—or fisherman. Once he realized who was truly in charge—then and forever--Peter said and did things that have inspired millions and millions of people.

And so can we, if we build on the greatest cornerstone there is, rather than trying to start from scratch.


The Diocese of Arlington’s 118th Men’s Cursillo Weekend is under way at Missionhurst. Pray that the candidates and team will be fed to the brim with the love of Christ and community and are inspired by the Holy Spirit to cast some nets of their own.

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