Going to places we do not want to go; we have all had that experience from time to time in our lives. As children we are forever finding ourselves having to go places we don’t want to go such as the dentist, school or even church. These are places we need to be for our health and well-being.

Through Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus brings us where we need to be. Jesus himself was led to Calvary, a place where he freely accepted being led, but nonetheless, a difficult place to go. Jesus’ free acceptance came when he suffered the agony in the garden, “Father, if it is your will take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22: 42)

The son was being led by the father to a place where he needed to go, so that the father’s plan of salvation could be brought to completion. After Jesus was arrested, he was led before the Sanhedrin and Peter, who only hours before said he would never deny Jesus, was led to a place he did not want to go, a place of denial. After the resurrection, Jesus will bring Peter where he needs to be. 

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter, Peter and the other disciples were led to the Sea of Tiberius; we don’t know if they wanted to be there, but they had to be there. They needed to earn a living and eat even though the resurrection had changed everything. Going where they did not want to go led to a huge haul of fish, beyond anything they ever caught.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered, ‘No.’ So, he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat.’ ” (John 21: 5-6) The large haul of fish would be a foreshadowing of the numbers of people who would come to faith in the resurrection. Jesus providing a meal for the disciples enables them to recognize that he was the risen Lord. 

We too recognize the risen Lord in the Eucharistic meal Jesus provides for us. Following the meal Jesus provided to his disciples, “Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ At that Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’” (John 21:15-17) 

Twice more Jesus would ask Peter if he loved him and Peter replied, “You know that I love you” and Jesus responded, “Tend my sheep and feed my sheep.” By his threefold proclamation of his love for Jesus, Peter becomes the new shepherd of the flock. Jesus then tells him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)

We hear in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:27-32) how the apostles are led to a place they would rather not go, they are led before the Sanhedrin: “the high priest questioned them, ‘we gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name?’ ” The apostles were compelled by the spirit to be led to places they might not otherwise want to go, such as before the Sanhedrin to give witness to the truth of the resurrection. Once they were dismissed by the Sanhedrin, they left rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer in the name of the Lord. 

The Psalm (30:2,4, 5-6, 11-12,13) speaks about how the Lord saves us from our enemies: “I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.” Like the Lord who accepted his suffering in the garden, the apostles accepted their suffering when they came before the Sanhedrin and the Lord sustained them as Psalm 30 promises.

The Lord ultimately brings us to a place of eternal glory and praise as the Second Reading from the Book of Revelations tells us. “I John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessings.’ ” (Rev. 5:11-14)
The Lord brings us to the place where we need to be.