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  • Sarah Raad

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“All with Peter to Jesus through Mary.” (Saint Josemaría).

Draught of fish (Geneva, Musee d'Art et d'Histoire 1443-44)

Often in the Gospel accounts of the Life of Christ and the Acts of the Apostles, particular people are mentioned by name. And those particular names and the mention of particular people makes perfect sense to me. After all, the people who lived at the time of Christ would have known those people. They would have been able to find them by name and ask them directly to “witness” to reveal the message of Christ. And their names served an important purpose in the growth of the early Church, because by providing their names they were able to provide assurance as a witness of their faith…


These named people would have been people like the apostles, Saint Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Bartholomew, but also others like Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and even Lazarus and Mary Magdalene…


And yet, the other day, I read a short passage of the Gospel of Saint John (21:1-3) and in it we are told of “two other of His disciples…”


“Later, by the Sea of Tiberias, Jesus again revealed Himself to the disciples. He made Himself known in this way: Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter told them, ‘I am going fishing.’ ‘We will go with you,’ they said. So they went out and got into the boat, but caught nothing that night. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not recognize that it was Jesus. So He called out to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He told them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it there, and they were unable to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!...’” (John 21:1-7).


That night in that boat, the Risen Christ visited His beloved friends. Some of those friends are identified by name – “Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee…”

But – importantly to my mind today – two of the others have not been given a name in the passage… And I have been reflecting on those nameless apostles…

Once, when Pope Saint John Paul II was talking with some young people before he was supposed to give a speech, his minders asked him to hurry up because he was going to be late. He turned to them and said in Latin, “Vado piscary,” which means, “I am going fishing.” To his amazement, some of those young people to whom he was speaking replied, “Venimus et nos tecum!”, which means “We will go with you!” And the Saint replied, “Please do!”


You see, those nameless youth to whom the Holy Father was devoting his attentions that day were like the nameless apostles in the Gospel story… And they too had a purpose to serve in God’s plan, and the Saint understood that their purpose was as valuable as it was anonymous to him…


And Pope Saint John Paul II was not the only saint to understand the importance of the Church’s role as fishers of men (and women and children). Other saints also understood that role. Saint Josemaría prayed, “Omnes cum Petro, ad Iesum, per Maríam”, which means, “All with Peter to Jesus through Mary.”


And I have been reflecting on that prayer too. Because I am called to not only be one of the anonymous apostles who stand behind Saint Peter in that boat, but I am called to encourage others to stand behind Saint Peter too… And our Saint Peter is the Pope – who is called to be a fisher of men…


And as I pray this prayer today, I ask for the Grace to be chosen as an anonymous apostle of Christ. For I would give my entire soul to serve my Blessed Lord with everything that I have to give – even if nobody ever knew my name…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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