Following the recent events in the upper room event with Thomas, the disciples return to their "former" lives; they’re fishing! I guess I’m puzzled as to how after all that they've been through, they decide to go fishing. Sure, it’s their livelihood and yes, it may be their way of processing what they have experienced, and… yet, it almost suggests, it’s back to “business as usual.”
Needless to say, John 21:1-19 has is reasons for telling us this story and he continues... a “stranger” appears on the shore and inquires as to how they’re doing. They respond with some frustration, not so well. The stranger calls out to “try another side” and see what happens. Maybe their “old habits” and practices were just not working?
Whatever it was, they ventured back out and found huge success. Their nets were overflowing. They catch 153 fish. Why that number? Many have guessed but it may simply imply all of the community of believers. The number may simply imply that many were caught.
Perhaps John is relating this story to remind us not to fall into our old ways of doing things? It is Jesus telling us to reach out to the world and “put our nets back in the sea” even when we are tired and have had no luck. In relating his encounter with Peter, Jesus reinforces his teaching the need for us to love one another by caring for each other. We are asked to abandon our old habits of fear and leave our “comfort zones” to create new habits. We are called to be mindful of the needs of our world and in so doing actively live our faith.