It’s Easter, and at daily mass we’ve been hearing resurrection stories for our Gospel readings. I love the resurrection, but if I’m honest at a certain point I got tired of all this talk about resurrection. I just want to think about something else for a bit. I need a breather, some space to clear my head. That was where my head was at on Friday of the Easter Octave: Jesus, I love you but I just need some space to relax. Ironically, the Gospel that day seemed to fit me perfectly.
It was from John 21: the story of Simon Peter going fishing. As I was following along, I thought about how Peter probably had a lot on his mind: Jesus had just died, risen, and now was appearing to various people. That’s a lot to think about. The passage says that Peter told a couple of the apostles that he was going fishing, and they said they came along. Was this Peter looking for a breather? For space to clear his head? It seemed like a good fit for me, at least as a thought to ponder.
This is one of the stories of Jesus appearing to his disciples, but it’s interesting to me that Peter and his companions were fishing all night long before Jesus appeared. Was Jesus giving Peter that space he was looking for? Dare I believe that? People talk about Jesus as a gentleman, as a man who waits to be invited before coming into our hearts. It still seems like a good fit for me.
Jesus appears on the shore and he calls out, “Children, have you caught anything?” No they hadn’t. “Put out your nets on the other side of the boat.” And suddenly they catch 153 large fish. John recognizes Jesus, and he tells Peter that it’s Jesus. And at once Peter jumps into the water and swims to his Lord. And there Jesus has a charcoal fire prepared. And he brought breakfast.
Later in the story Jesus asks Peter if he loves him three times, and there’s a lot of depth in that part of the story. But what struck me this time around was that first Jesus created a space to just relax with Peter and the other disciples. He simply invited Peter to breakfast. And maybe they just talked about nothing, just had a little breather, a chance for Peter to clear his head. And as a take away, I thought when I feel like I need a breather and space to clear my head, maybe sometimes Jesus is inviting me to come spend time with him. Not every prayer needs to be super intense, I can just sit with him and relax for a moment. He’s a good God, he’s Lord of the Sabbath. I can rest with him.