Jesus said to his disciples: 'Come, have breakfast!' Can you put yourselves into that little picture by the lakeshore, seeing Jesus at what we may call a brunch barbeque? It's easy to visualize him grilling the fish over the charcoal and maybe cooking the bread on the hot stones. That bit is not at all difficult to imagine, but now push your imaginations a bit harder and try to think more of those other pious images about Jesus, the ones we see in shop, church and shrines, do they speak to us about the kind of Jesus who lived with ordinary humans?
How difficult do you find it to see in this, broiling, toiling, cook, the same Jesus we seek in our Eucharist or hear others speak about in hushed and holy voices? Sometimes we need a shake, need to realise that we are far closer to the Lord than we care to admit, and we can get him so wrong! The disciples didn't know him at all: "When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus". (Jn 21:4) If they found the post-resurrection encounters with him difficult, as I suppose religious people have done all through the ages, we can be excused our own problems in trying to capture the essence of who Jesus is.
Now there are some Christians who would pull me up at this point and tell me that Christ is recognized in sacrament and symbol, in word and deed, in devotion and worship. All true, but I for one still need to make the connection between all this and my own life, for if the resurrection of Jesus from the dead teaches me anything it is that Christ is to be found amongst the living, in life, where we are NOW." Jesus said to them: "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him: "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord" (Jn 21:12). What he did not say was, "go up to the `Temple, or hasten to the synagogue and listen to a sermon, study your scriptures, say your prayers-and then you will know who I am'! No, it was in those simple acts of cooking, sharing, eating and drinking-in other words in real encounters, that Jesus was revealed to the disciples.
So what about us? Can we find him, can we help others discover him in their lives? After all he is not bound down by chains of learning, nor confined to a library, or a church building, Christ, through the Holy Spirit is present to all things and in all places. This should be the excitement of our faith, a living, breathing, rejoicing, faith, and one that is not locked up for fear of the world or Satan or sin, but is powerful in that love which surpasses all things. "Blessed are those who do not see but believe' he says and then adds, 'I am with you always till the end of time'! So rejoice, he is risen , he is amongst us, we will each know him. Be filled with that great Easter joy, for he tells us to cast our nets far into the seas of our world and let it be filled with a harvest of surprises. As it was for those first disciples so it is for us - "We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him."
Nowadays this is the way everyone loves himself; people wish to live with God in consolations and repose, in wealth and power, and to share the fruition of his glory. We all indeed wish to be God with God, but God knows there are few of us who want to live as men with his Humanity, or want to carry his cross with him, or want to hang on the cross with him and pay humanity's debt to the full.
Columba Hart (1980). 'Hadewijch (CWS)' p.61, Paulist Press
"In me there is darkness,
But with You there is light;
I am lonely, but You do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help;
I am restless, but with You there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience;
I do not understand Your ways,
But You know the way for me."
"Lord Jesus Christ,
You were poor
And in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.
You know all man's troubles;
You abide with me
When all others fail me;
You remember and seek me;
It is Your will that I should know You
And turn to You.
Lord, I hear Your call and follow;
Letters and Papers from Prison
We Need Your Support
ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.
Please support our journalism by donating today.Donate