In John 21:1 – 14, Jesus appears to the disciples on the Sea of Tiberias. After they have spent a whole night fishing and have caught nothing, Jesus appears to them on the shore and tells them, “‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.”
Peter drags the net ashore full of 153 large fish. After this, Jesus invites the disciples to breakfast, and he “took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.” This is a clear reference to the Eucharist.
St. Jerome teaches that Greek zoologists had identified a total of 153 different species of fish known to mankind at that time in history. This anticipates how the Apostles, who were made fishers of men by Christ, will gather believers from every nation, race and ethnicity into the Church.
The story is undoubtedly evangelical, clearly Eucharistic, and evokes FOCUS’ desires through this effort to reach every human being on earth!
FOCUS seeks to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18 – 20), which calls us to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The original word for “nations” in Greek is “ethnos,” from which the word “ethnicity” finds its roots. In this light, the Great Commission has meaning beyond a geographic spreading of the Gospel. It highlights that fulfillment of the Great Commission includes all peoples, at home and abroad, of “every nation, race, people, and tongue” (Rev. 7:9). FOCUS 153 is incorporated into every facet of the FOCUS apostolate with the aim of helping us to fulfill our mission.
Jeff Runyan is a 18-year veteran of FOCUS and currently serves as the Sr. Director of International Relations. Jeff has degrees in Spanish and Political Science and a certification in Latin American Studies from Colorado State University. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, he studied in a post-graduate program in International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile. Jeff is also a Rotary World Peace Fellow and has received a certification in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Jeff served as a missionary at the United States Air Force Academy and spent 10 years as the Director of FOCUS Missions.
Priscilla Garza is a eight-year missionary and serves FOCUS 153 and the FOCUS Missions Team. She grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, and returned to the U.S. in 2012 to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Psychology (pre-med) at Baylor University. Her first two years on staff were spent serving in her home state at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University; she then moved to Denver to begin her work with Missions and FOCUS 153 in 2018. Priscilla enjoys salsa dancing and traveling in her free time.
Through her work with FOCUS 153, Priscilla oversees 153 Mission Partner Development as well as the weekly live series “FOCUS en Español.” She provides support and encouragement to FOCUS 153 missionaries through mentorship, training, and additional resources. FOCUS en Español provides a platform to reach the Hispanic community through social media, where Priscilla speaks about the Catholic faith and evangelization.