•Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 • Revelation 5:11-14 • John 21:1-14•
Weekly Scripture Readings: Third Sunday of Easter
To print a PDF of the homily click HERE.
Can you imagine any more ordinary and welcoming invitation than, “come and have breakfast”? We hear this invitation in the third and final appearance of the Risen One in John’s gospel. It is an echo of the even simpler invitation at the very beginning of the gospel — “come and see!”
Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!! John provides no time line between the crucifixion and the three appearances he records. We can only speculate.
A minimum of at least several days separates these various appearances. Perhaps they occurred much later — weeks or even months later.
According to John the second appearance of the Risen One occurred in Jerusalem. “They had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered and stood among them.” It was then his close companions began to realize that “locked doors” were no barrier to his presence among them.
Our text today is taken from what scholars call the epilogue of John’s gospel. Apparently someone other than the initial author composed this epilogue.It claims the disciples have returned to the familiar hills of their homeland, to their families and totheir pre-Jesus occupation as fishermen. They have spent the night fishing without success. Maybe they forgot how to fish. There are only seven of his close companions in the boat. No explanation is offered why four of them are absent.
I speculate that in those hours, days, perhaps even months after the crucifixion, and after they left Jerusalem and retuned to Galilee, they continued to ponder, question and even doubt. They still were faced with mystery and confusion. The description of Peter’s exuberance suggests they had not still had not comprehended what resurrection meant for Jesus and what it implied for them.
I again invite you to recall “The Little Prince.” In that wonderful short story, the fox reminded the little prince: “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly … what is essential is invisible to the eye.” In this third appearance on the shores of Galilee, the Risen Christ offers them bread and fish. In sharing food, “they knew it was the Master.” They began to see “with the heart” and to appreciate his presence with them as a living companion. Remember he came so we might “have life in his name.” John’s gospel was “written that through believing we may have life!” and “have it abundantly.” It is becoming like Christ — fully alive and fully human that makes us “Christian.”
In my own spiritual reading this year, I found a statement that I find both amazing and profound. I have paraphrased it slightly for this homily and ask you to ponder it with me.
“My hope is that you will make the Jesus story your own.”
“The important thing is not what we believe about the story, but whether we have the
capacity to allow it to live within us.”
“There is in the Risen One a spark of divinity permeating our world of time and space.”[“There is in the Risen One a spark of divinity permeating our world of time and space.”]
“The Risen One has the power to breathe a new vitality into our lives, so that the source
of all life is not disconnected from the ordinary moments of life.”
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly … what is essential is invisible to the eye.” I invite you to join me with conviction in affirming and proclaiming that Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!!