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PRIEST'S FOR LIFE | HOMILY HINTS

Obedience to the Risen Christ

Today’s readings make it clear that Jesus’ resurrection does not only bring life to him. Rather, it begins a process whereby, through our obedience, life comes to us and extends through us to all the world.

The theme of obedience to the Risen Christ comes through in the Gospel passage where the fruitless, all-night efforts of the fishermen-apostles are contrasted to a simple act of obedience to one command of the Risen Lord. The 153 fish, as some commentators have pointed out, represents the number of known kinds of fish in that day, and therefore symbolizes that people of every race, nation, and language are called to acknowledge the Lord and will be brought into the Kingdom by the preaching of the Church. As the second reading mentions, “every creature” will worship before the throne. Obedience to God and to the Lamb is the call of everyone.

In the first reading, the apostles obey the Risen Lord rather than the misguided commands of human authority. More fundamentally, they point out that obedience to the Lord yields the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to all through repentance and faith.

This overarching theme of obedience that leads to life contrasts powerfully with the attitude of the culture of death that real freedom consists in forging our own way through life, insisting on our own choices, and arranging both our private lives and public policies in such a way that protects absolute, or nearly-absolute, personal autonomy. That is simply not the way of salvation or even of earthly happiness. Instead, the only way to both is a resounding “Yes” to life, in obedience to the one who conquers death and gives life abundantly.

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