Have you ever read or watched anything when what seems like an insignificant fact catches your eye and you begin to wonder why even mention that? There a line in Today’s Gospel that jumped out at me today. So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Is there is significance to that number “153”. Let’s explore together.
Here is the verses footnote: * [21:11] The exact number 153 is probably meant to have a symbolic meaning in relation to the apostles’ universal mission; Jerome claims that Greek zoologists catalogued 153 species of fish. Or 153 is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 17. Others invoke Ez 47:10.
Here is Bishop Barron’s thoughts:
Friends, we must attend to the mystical depth of today’s Gospel. At the break of dawn, the disciples spy a mysterious figure on the distant shore who shouts out to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” When they answer in the negative, he instructs them to cast the net over the right side of the ship. When they do, they bring in a huge catch of fish.
This fishing expedition is a symbol of the Church (the barque of Peter), across space and time, at its apostolic task of seeking souls. The life and work of the Church, John seems to be telling us, will be a lengthy, twilight struggle, a hard toil that will often seem to bear little or no fruit. But after the long night, the dawn of a new life and a new order will break, the transfigured world inaugurated by Jesus. The catch of fish that he makes possible is the totality of people that Christ will gather to himself; it is the new Israel, the eschatological Church.
We know this through a subtle bit of symbolism. When the fish are dragged ashore, John bothers to tell us their exact number, 153—a figure commonly taken in the ancient world to signify the total number of species of fish in the sea.
From Matt Sick:
Why 153? Here is a possible explanation.
In the four gospels, 153 individuals received a blessing from Jesus in one form or another. Now we are aware, of course, that Jesus fed 5,000 in Matthew 14:13-21, but here we’re looking at individuals. It’s fascinating to note that in Hebrew, the word Passover has a mathematical value of 153 (See the Gematria Table). Passover is the event where blood was placed on the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes when they were slaves in Egypt. God sent the angel of death to kill all the firstborn in Egypt. But, the angel would ‘pass over’ that house if there was blood on the door (Exodus 12:11–14). All who entered in through that door would be spared. Typically, such doors consisted of three pieces of wood: two vertical pieces and a horizontal piece at the top, which formed a rectangular entrance, a door. Also, Jesus died during Passover (Matthew 26:2; Luke 22:1; John 13:1).
Finally, a small point is worth noting regarding John 21:6, where Jesus tells the disciples the cast their net on the right side. The right side represents salvation. The left represents damnation.
You can do a search in Google and find many, many thoughts on this subject – I’m willing to guess about 153. Here are some others (just hit the hyper link)…
Do something great for our Lord today – don’t be that 154th fish who just missed being caught. Get to Confession, get to Mass and receive Christ. He Has Risen. CHRIST HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD. ALLELUIA. AMEN.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Gods’ will, not mine, be done.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.