2004—Third Sunday of Easter—C
Whenever I hear this gospel. I am flooded with memories from my childhood. "Going fishing' was a very special experience I shared with my grandparents at their summer home on the North shore of Long Island. They had a little row boat with an Evinrude 7.5 horse power on it and often they would take my brothers and I out (not far from shore). My Grandfather would bait the hook and in the rare event that we caught anything he would be the one to remove the fish from the hook. My grandmother would sing songs like "down in the city of sighs and tears" or "all alone by the telephone" I don't know whether her singing attracted the fish or chased them away! I haven't gone fishing ever since but when I hear this story of Peter saying "I'm going fishing", I can't help but be connected with my past and it is as if Augusta and Bill Roggy are alive again.
At the same summer house, on Sunday mornings after Mass, my dad used to cook breakfast outside on the patio at the table with the big blue umbrella. Isn't it strange that of all the thousands of meals that my mom or dad prepared for me and my brothers on a daily basis, my dad's "Cooking breakfast" on the patio in the summertime, would remain as the most powerful memory. I don't know why it is but I know that when I remember how he fed us in this way, it's as if my dad is alive again.
As I hear the dialogue between Peter and Jesus on the beach, I am flooded with memories of people in my own life. Living and deceased with whom I have walked a beach, sharing thoughts and feelings. There is something about a walk on a beach that is so personal and intimate, whether it be early in the morning, mid day or late in the evening. What is it about a walk along the shore that is so memorable? The sounds of the sea? The feel of the water? The color of the sky ? I for one feel like I have stepped into eternity.
All of these memories evoked from one gospel story! And for you? Are there memories you have and would share if you could of a lake, a seashore, a cooked breakfast, a memory of something that made you feel so alive because you were doing something you loved to do with someone or two or three whom you loved and who loved you.
What I love about this story of the Risen Jesus appearing to his friends is that it is so simple. They are doing what they love to do and Jesus is doing what he loves to do, feed them and love them with his living presence. In this story there is no fear or grief like in the other stories of Jesus making himself known after his death. No there is a sense of relief. Here we are again doing what we love to do with ones we love. This Gospel for me gives a taste of what I believe the kingdom of God is" Doing what you love to do with people whom you love"
But we don't need to wait until death for a taste of the kingdom. We get to taste and see the kingdom of God right now in this Eucharist! Here we are again doing what we love to do with the One who loves to feed us! In this Eucharist we know the presence of the Risen One, feeding us with his body and blood and asking us to feed and tend each other.