Peter and the apostles were fishermen. It was what they knew to do. And they did it well. And in their grief, in an attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy, they embrace the familiar. Not everything goes well. They catch nothing after working hard all night. And as dawn breaks, Jesus is standing on the shore, instructing them to cast their nets where they never thought to do it, and inviting them to breakfast.
John recognized him first. It is the Lord. Some people recognize God in their routine rather naturally. They see God’s presence and action in their lives and in the world at the drop of a hat. John tells Peter what he believes, and Peter responds. Some people could use help recognizing God and God’s action in their lives. Unless that help is welcome, they might persist in their cluelessness. John comes to recognize Jesus in a similar way as Mary Magdalene. Jesus doesn’t call out his name, but John perhaps recognizes the inflection of Jesus’ voice or his profile in the early light or the convergence of other details that points him in that direction. It is the Lord.
No one dared to ask him who he was. They just knew, or they arrived at that realization gradually. Perhaps they talked among themselves as they returned to shore. But that realization became an assurance of Jesus’ presence, which later becomes the foundation of their witness and their participation in his mission.
Unless we first recognize him risen from the dead, our witness will not be grounded in the conviction that he is present and living, and our participation in his mission will not be propelled by the mighty deeds we have witnessed God accomplish in our lives.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Tom Foley.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020