By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY — When disheartened and disappointed in life, Christians can rest assured that the risen Christ brings hope and the courage to begin anew, Pope Francis said.
“When our nets are empty in life, it is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves, to have fun, to return to old pastimes,” the pope said May 1 before praying the “Regina Coeli” prayer with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
“It is time to begin again with Jesus; it is time to find the courage to begin again,” he said. “It is time to put out to sea again with him.”
Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. John, which recounted the resurrected Christ’s appearance to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee, the pope said Christians, like the disciples, can be disheartened with life and look for other ways to find meaning.
“This can happen to us, out of tiredness, disappointment, perhaps out of laziness, to forget the Lord and to neglect the great choices we have made, to content ourselves with something else,” the pope said.
Not spending time with family or forgetting to pray can lead Christians to be “wrapped up in our own needs” and only find “that very disappointment that Peter felt, with empty nets, like him.”
Yet, in that moment, Jesus appears again and does not scold but instead “invites them as before, to cast their nets again courageously,” the pope said.
Upon realizing that it was Jesus on the shore, he continued, St. Peter’s gesture of diving into the water to meet him was a “gesture of love” that renews his zeal and proved his “newfound enthusiasm.”
Jesus “invites us to a new impetus — everyone, each one of us — he invites us to dive into the good without the fear of losing something, without calculating too much, without waiting for others to begin,” the pope said.
Just as Christ asked three times if St. Peter loved him, Pope Francis said Jesus also asks Christians the same question because “faith is not a question of knowledge, but of love.”
“Jesus asks you, me, us, who have empty nets and are afraid to start out again, who do not have the courage to dive in and have perhaps lost our momentum,” he said.