Fr Paul reads from John’s Gospel (21: 1-14) in which Jesus showed himself, again, to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee.
Today, Fr Paul says, we are reading one of his favourite passages of scripture. He says that if he ever has the opportunity to visit the Holy Land, this would be the number one thing he would want to do… to simply have a barbecue breakfast by the Sea of Galilee as in this passage of scripture. A bucket list item, if you will!
For Fr Paul, it is such a beautiful scene. It is the early morning. The disciples have been fishing. Jesus has prepared breakfast for them and they simply spend time together. This story is very much about the disciples being reunited with the Risen Lord. Hence, the naming of all the disciples at the beginning of this Gospel.
As in Luke’s Gospel, we hear of the disciples fishing with little, or no, success but (as in other passages) when Jesus commands them to do a certain thing, they are successful with their catch. Today, at Jesus’s command they haul in 153 big fish.
Like all encounters with the Risen Christ, like the ones we have been recounting during this Easter season, the disciples still have difficulty recognizing Jesus. He is the same person, but he is mysteriously changed.
This Gospel also concludes with Jesus feeding his disciples in a very Eucharistic way. This symbolises that Christ will always be with his Church. He nourishes the Church just as he nourishes his disciples. That is why the Eucharistic meal that we celebrate each day and each weekend is so central to who we are. It is through listening to the scriptures; it is through receiving the body and blood of Christ; and it is through gathering together that we nourish each other, and Christ nourishes us.