John 21: 1-4
After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.” The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.
Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
They answered, “No.” He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”
They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’tstrong enough to pull it in.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!” When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.
Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.
Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master. Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.
Peter’s decision to go fishing seems to be his way of getting back to ‘normal’ after the harrowing events of the crucifixion, the drama of the resurrection, and the fear and inaction the disciples felt afterwards. Together, the fishermen go through the normal working activities they know so well: getting the boats out to sea; casting the nets; - and catching nothing.
We often find comfort in confusing or upsetting times by sticking to familiar routines, or going back to the everyday tasks we used to do without thinking much. When we don’t know what to do, we do what we know.
The thing that strikes me most about this passage is the ‘ordinariness’ of Jesus cooking breakfast for his friends. The disciples are doing the work they did before they ever met Jesus, and he, who has just shown beyond doubt that he is the son of God, is on the shore, grilling bread and fish so they’ll have something to eat when they get back. How practical is that?
And during this most ordinary of scenes, another miracle happens. By listening to what Jesus says, they finally catch a huge number of fish. This must have reminded them of a very similar miracle Jesus worked when he was first calling them to follow him and become fishers of people. It must have reminded them of the amazing events and experiences they had witnessed since meeting Jesus, and that their lives could not possibly be the same again.
The contrast of the everyday and the miraculous reminds me that God is present in our lives all of the time, with us when we are doing the ordinary, everyday activities, and, if we listen, telling us about the extraordinary ways he can work in our lives.
Salesian Communications Staff
Let me feel your presence in the ordinary moments of my life.
Be so familiar to me that I turn first to you when I need help;
Let me listen to your guidance so that I can follow your path.