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I Wonder How The Disciples Were Feeling?
We have heard how they had seen Jesus in the upper room in Jerusalem but now, some time had passed and they are back in Galilee. For three years previously, they had spent time together with their leader; propelled to leave their homes and families to become engaged in every way with Jesus’ amazing mission, miracles and message. Now he is absent from them; yes, he has twice appeared to them, yes, he had breathed on them told them they had a purpose and that they were to forgive sins, that they would become fishers of men but these two sparks of stunning revelation came in the midst of many days and hours of unrelenting ordinariness, where the loss of that every day presence and contact with Jesus weighed heavily with them and so they returned home. Like many people in this position, Peter wants to get on, he wants to start life again, to fill those long minutes and hours so he sets off to what he knows. “I am going fishing,” he says.
After a full night of it they return, empty-netted, weary, more dispirited, cold and hungry. In their own strength the disciples have caught nothing but when Jesus tells them to cast down the net, with him they are empowered and the net comes up burgeoning with a catch beyond their imagination.
I must say that I really like breakfast. I mean a real breakfast that can be savoured, enjoyed with lashings of coffee and best of all on those all too rare occasions when there is no time constraint, no pressing engagement to interfere with lingering. Ideally a breakfast with Frances where conversation is relaxed, a lot, a little or sometimes none at all, ideally in Scotland where oatcakes, kippers and a wee smoked haddock complement the “Full English” and ideally out of doors with fresh air, warming sunshine and orange juice. Breakfast offers the prospect of a new day.
The disciples made their catch at daybreak, at dawn. John, the intuitive one realises that the stranger on the bank is “The Lord“, while Peter the impulsive one, on realising the truth of this, impatient to be with Jesus dashes over the side; the boat can no longer hold him. In this dawn they have been renewed and on the beach they find a good fire to warm them and dry them, fish and bread to nourish them and Jesus says to them “Come and have breakfast.”
Jesus serves the disciples himself, “He came and took bread and gave it to them and did the same with the fish.” When we read that there are echoes for us of the feeding of the five thousand, of the Last Supper and of the Eucharist that we shall shortly share.
This breakfast at dawn, on the shore of lake Tiberius is more than the prospect of a new day, it is the prospect of heaven, with Jesus there to renew us, empower us, welcome us and feed us.