by Thoburn F. Thompsont
This passage is so rich in images-disappointed fishermen, slow recognition of a beloved master returned from the dead, nets not torn by a huge catch, 153 large fish, a lakeside charcoal fire, and an invitation to share a meal of roasted fish and bread.
I live in Minnesota. Folks in my part of the country know what it is to fish and not catch. We know about torn nets and the “big” fish. We tell others the number caught, the species, and how many we lost or released. When there is a catch, one companion expertly fillets the fish, another friend cooks; we invite one another to taste the best portion, and together we finish the last morsel.
A few years ago seven fishing buddies stood together on a Boundary Waters Canoe Area lakeshore: fathers, fathers-in-law, sons and sons-in-law. It was cold and pouring rain. We had caught only one fish that blustery day. With no dry spot to sit down, we stood and shared the one fish, bread, and one another ‘s company – a time of special sharing. It was enough! All of us remember the meal, the fish, and the bread we shared. For my part, a wet and cold long paddle out of the BWCA was small price to pay for the enduring companionship of that “shore lunch .”
This powerful story of Jesus and the disciples on the lake shore is not about the details of fishing but of the relationships that were reinforced and transformed at that post – Resurrection meal. It was and is sacramental, our shared meal.
Dear Creator God, we gratefully acknowledge shared experiences. Teach us to share our bountiful food with those who hunger, and give us who have bread a hunger for justice and peace. Amen.