Please add my mother to your prayer list and my brother Jay’s family. She has been with Jay on an extended visit and fell in his garage yesterday. They will meet with the surgeon this morning to discuss her broken hip. The next few weeks are going to be hard on all involved…a shout out to my sister who is dropping everything here in St. Louis and will spend the next couple of weeks out with Mom and Jay.
Is there any significance to the number 153? Why do I ask you ask? In today’s readings, Jesus appears again to his apostles while they are fishing. After catching nothing all night, Jesus tells them to cast again and they haul in a large amount of fish – 153 exactly by John’s account. Is this significant? Look below at how many theories (and this is a short list) abound in regards to that number, taken from the website Biblical Hermeneutics…
Short Answer: Many have come up with various numerological interpretations of the number 153 in John. I believe this to be reading into the text things not intended by the author.
As the two previous answers to this questions illustrate well, this numerological method allows for several different interpretations of the same passage. Each of the words in the Bible, both Greek and Hebrew, adds up to a number. It is no wonder that of these over 10000 words (most with several different tenses/forms), one can use arithmetic to derive one word/number from other words/numbers as one sees fit, and read meanings into it.
To illustrate my point, here are some other numerological interpretations of 153:
- Jerome claimed there were 153 species of fish, thus the catch became a symbol of a fruitful mission as fishers of men.
- Emerton notes that the streams of living water flowing from the temple in Ez 47:9-10, will have fishermen standing along the shore, from En Gedi to En Eglaim. “Gedi” has the numerical value 17, and “Eglaim” has the numerical value 153, and 153 = 1+2+3+4+…..+17. Thus the number represents all the fishermen.
- Augustine also noted that 153 = 1+2+3+4+…..+17. 17=10+7, which is the ten commandments + the seven spirits of God.
- Gregory the Great reaches 17 the same way, but multiplies it by 3, the number of the trinity, to get 51, and by 3 again, unto perfection, to get 153.
- Others break 7 further down into 4+3, the number of walls in the new Jerusalem + the trinity
- Yet others observe that 17 is the number of loaves of bread in the feeding of the 5000 + the number of baskets picked up after (=12+5).
- Others note that 153 is the numerical value of the phrase “The church of love” or “the children of God” or “Cana G” (+ “Cana in Galilee”).
- Some see the number made up of “Simeon, Bar, Jonah, Kephas”.
- Thoma finds 153 to be a reference to ICTHYS (a common early Christian acronym, standing for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”).
So I ask again, is there any significance to the number 153? The Venerable Fulton Sheen offered this thought on the Gospel. He didn’t focus on the specific amount, but he thought because of the large catch of fish, the monetary value from this would support the apostles/disciples families as He sent them out to evangelize the world. Bishop Robert Barren focuses on a different aspect of the Gospel message this morning…
Why did the risen Jesus appear only to a few? Why didn’t he make himself readily apparent to anyone who wanted to see? Cardinal Newman commented on this. If Jesus had appeared publicly and indiscriminately to all, the power of the Resurrection would have been lessened. Some would believe; others wouldn’t. Some would get it; others wouldn’t. Some would be fascinated; others indifferent.
Instead, he deigned to appear to a small coterie of dedicated disciples who knew him, loved him, understood him—confident that they would be the effective bearers of his message. We are those now who eat and drink with him after his Resurrection. And so we have a commission to announce this Good News.
These are all great thoughts to ponder as we head into our weekend. Speaking of the weekend, Divine Mercy Sunday will be celebrated this weekend…we continue with Day 8 of our novena…
Day 8 – Divine Mercy Novena:
Intention: Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ARE DETAINED IN PURGATORY, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.
Novena Prayers: Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion.
Today, and everyday, I pray for the following souls. Please add any names you have to this list: My father, Jack; my father-in-law, Ignatius; my dear friend “Doc” William Hoffman; John Snyder; Tiffany Lenz; Tom Nigh; Steve Koester; Bob Franey. May their souls, and the souls of all the just, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Christ is Risen – Alleluia.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Do something great for the Lord today.