I’ve always loved the maternal Jesus who invites his tired, bedraggled disciples, “come, children, have breakfast.” He speaks to the hungry and bewildered a word of comfort, offering exactly what they need.
In other instances, the post-Resurrection Jesus asks for something to eat. He reminds us of adolescents who are always hungry, or long-awaited guests whom we welcome with a special meal. This touchstone in human nature apparently convinces the skeptical.
My granddaughter Mia recently had the same gracious instinct. She is only seven, but on the first day of spring break day camp, looks out for her friend from school. Glimpsing Ben, she is delighted, runs to give him a giant hug. Ben, on the other hand, is terrified. His mother tries to walk hobbled as he clings to her leg. Gradually, Mia peels him away, snuggles him beside her on a couch, opens her lunch box with bravado and reveals the tantalizing contents. Which does the trick. Somehow, knowing there will be Provisions calms Ben down. He relaxes his tight grip on mom and enters into the camp experience.
So Jesus, before asking Peter to feed the flock, makes sure his friend is well fed himself. Jesus knows how wavering and uncertain our human nature can be. But he also knows, like a good mom, how to nurture. We follow some deep instinct when we get out the best china and cook some of our favorite recipes to celebrate this season. Only following the footsteps of our wise and tender model…