Sheer genius how Jesus takes ordinary stuff and forms of it salvation. Nets, fish, boats, light garments. Simple words. Burning charcoal. No ponderous treatise. Not a footnote in sight. No titles nor tuxedoes. No rehearsals, no tension, simply a call we’ve heard before.
“Come, have breakfast.” The invitation sounds routine. But on closer look it means: “Be nurtured. You’ve probably not eaten for twelve hours or more. You’re looking woozy; food will energize. A full day ahead—you’ll need your strength.” We’ve heard it from mom, spouse or friends. But hearing it from Jesus?
Even better: what if we thought he’d died? There he is, calmly placing bread on the grill, asking for more fish. Why do we make him so distant, perfect, unreachable and glorified, when he is as close and natural in his serving role as a waitress who’s refilled the coffee 97 times this morning?
He doesn’t crow, “let me tell you about MY weekend!” Nor does he rehash gory details of Peter’s betrayal. Instead, he puts friends at ease, concerned whether they’ve caught anything to eat. With one word, “children,” he touches the sweet, needy, vulnerable self beneath the polished or cantankerous surface. He looks on them fondly: dripping, bedraggled, dazed with grief and sleeplessness, sloppy, dear. He intersects that moment of their longing, and names their deeper identity: “children of God.” How intimately he knows human hunger, felt its ache himself. Feeding that the necessary prelude to any lofty mission. To be near him, even the less impetuous might jump into a lake.
Originally published as a reflection in Give Us This Day, 4-1-16.
See Kathy Coffey’s article on Columbine in the 4/15/19, 110th anniversary issue of America Magazine. Sadly, nothing significant has changed in gun control during the 20 years since it was first published.