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This Sunday's Gospel records the beautiful encounter of the risen Lord with Peter. Prior to this encounter was another miraculous catch of fish, recoded in Luke chapter 5. In that episode, Jesus asked Peter not to be afraid for in the future, it is people he will catch.

In this account in John 21, Jesus changes the metaphor to pastoral care of the flock and their nourishment as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Whether the metaphor is fishing or pastoral care, what both speak of is the missionary mandate of the Apostles and indeed the whole Church. In this extract from 'The Joy of the Gospel' Pope Francis reminds us that the entire people of God proclaims the Gospel and has the responsibility of gathering and feeding God's people.

'Evangelization is the task of the Church. The Church, as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic and hierarchical institution; she is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God. She is certainly a mystery rooted in the Trinity, yet she exists concretely in history as a people of pilgrims and evangelizers, transcending any institutional expression, however necessary....The Church is sent by Jesus Christ as the sacrament of the salvation offered by God. Through her evangelizing activity, she cooperates as an instrument of that divine grace which works unceasingly and inscrutably. This principle of the primacy of grace must be a beacon which constantly illuminates our reflections on evangelization'.

Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 111-112.


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