Our apologies for a long silence on the blog. Between the busyness of Easter and Brian being off work ill, we have not been able to get here. Let us resume reflections, however, with this very Easter theme of breakfast with Jesus that appears in today's gospel.
There is something deeply paschal about devotions in the early morning. It was at the dawning of a new day that Jesus rose from the dead. It was in the quiet of a Sunday morning that Mary met Jesus and did not know him until He said her name. And it was in the fresh light of day that Jesus appeared to his disciples by the Lake of Tiberias, better known as the Sea of Galilee, and gave them one of His final commands: "Come and have breakfast." This He did after delivering to them a miraculous catch of 153 fish - which, at least for a breakfast menu, can only be described as an overabundance of resources.
There are probably any number of mystical readings of the fish and the apparition by the lake at this point in Jesus' post-resurrection life. Yet, perhaps one reading that is less common is the fact that Jesus seems to show something here about His appreciation of our physical life - indeed His physical life also. For He is true God and true man.
Of course, He invites them to eat with Him by the lake in the same way that He orders Thomas to put his hand into His wounds: to prove the reality of His body. Nevertheless, there is something about this scene that reminds us of one of the earlier apparitions of Jesus walking on the lake, frightening the wits out of his disciples. Maybe in that episode He was also teaching them something too, notably about His power and the authority it gave Him. Yet could He not also have been simply enjoying His walk among the waves on the water (of which He was the creator): the water that He had made and saw was good?
To see good causes us to delight. To see good causes us to rejoice. Is this not also a feature of Jesus' inner life both as God (because what He creates reflects His wondrous goodness) and as man (because the just man rejoices in that which is good)? All the penances of the Lenten season behind us were not meant to divorce us from our physical and material existence, but rather to discipline and purify our relationship with it (as well as doing penance for our sins of course). None of the deprivations were inspired by a hatred of our physical condition but merely by the need to ensure that rejoicing in lesser goods not impede our path towards the ultimate Good.
To understand the lower goods of creation as reflections of that higher Good is to see the created world around us in its true role as the canvas on which the colours of God's beauty are continuously painted by His creative force. Thus, when Jesus invites his disciples to breakfast after a night of fruitless fishing, we can detect a hint of that morning above all other mornings - the morning of eternal life - when we hope He will welcome us into His light, the light of the adorable Trinity, in which He will refresh us with the overabundance of His goodness.
When Jesus says, "Come and have breakfast," He is giving us an invitation to the endless festivity of heaven in the enduring morning of His happiness.