Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easter 3c - John 21:1-19

By the third appearance the disciples have gone back to what they know. “I’m going fishing,” is what you do when your world has been turned upside down and inside out and even though you’ve come through without a scratch you retreat to the security and comfort of the familiar. The rhythm of casting out and hauling in, casting out and hauling in, casting out and hauling in, even if you don’t catch anything, is simple and satisfying and safe. But Jesus just can’t leave them alone and appearing again turns the catch into an object lesson. Cast on the other side even though you’ve been fishing all night with nothing to show for it. Recognition comes with the catch. John wants us to know there were 153 large fish but the more important detail is that the net isn’t torn which is just another sign that what you should expect in the new reality is the unexpected. After breakfast it’s Jesus who goes fishing for the answer that is really a confession. “You know I love you” three times on the beach reverses “I do not know the man” three times in the courtyard and the curses Peter called down upon himself are lifted with the charge to feed and tend and feed . His fishing days are over and what will become familiar in following Jesus will be suffering and death. God still interrupts the familiar of our everyday with the extraordinary in chance encounters that after the fact are encounters clearly not by chance. God enters our everyday in the help and healing of one enduring with another sorrow and suffering so that courage is renewed, hope restored. We see God present in the flock that feeds and tends those whose welcome place of worship has been torn by dissension and strife. In all this we are invited along with Peter to stretch out our hands and be bound to something beyond our own doing and in that even the familiar is always something new.

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