Acts 9:1-6(7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
“If Wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets.” – Frank Herbert
Last Sunday, also from John’s Gospel, the Apostles were hiding out as if dead in their safe tomb. Today at least, at last, they come out of the metaphoric tomb and realize that there is still life awaiting them. However, they are not yet with the game plan. Is this the story of our lives, or what? Peter and six others go fishing. In other words, they go back to their old life, as if nothing had happened to transform their very reality. They knew Jesus was alive. They recently saw him in the upper room. Was that only a dream? When Jesus called them some three years ago he said they would fish for people rather than tilapia (now days called St. Peter’s fish by the locals). But now here they are back to their old trade. Jesus calls out to them from the beach to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. They had been fishing not only on the left side but on the wrong side, opposite the right in a moral sense. They then caught 153 fish (John 21:11). Ichthyologists of the day believed that in the whole world there were 153 species of fish. In this catch no one is left out. This story brings the apostles full circle. As is common with bible stories we are not literally talking about fish. They now can fish for people, all people, all kinds of people, every sort of person, the 153. Subsequently the stick drawing figure of the fish became a symbol of the Christians. When they got to shore, they found Jesus cooking a breakfast of fish and bread. In Christian history fish and bread became a symbol of the Eucharist. This meal Jesus prepared is sometimes called the Last Breakfast paralleling the Last Supper. Both are missed named. Things were just beginning. There have since been many suppers and breakfasts with Jesus. Now it is our turn to prepare the meal. Let’s cook.
In the Greek of this story three different words are used for fish. It reminds us of the many words for snow the Eskimos have. The first is found in John 21:5 (prosphagion). It means fish that is eaten with bread as a relish. The second word is found in John 21:6,8,11 (ixthus). It is the more common word for fish and from it we get the scientific term for the study of fish: ichthyology. The third is found in John 21:9,10,13 (opsarion). It means a cooked tidbit of fish. Theologically speaking both we and Jesus (Eucharist) are the fish. We are all both the meal and the guests.
Flipping in water,
caught by the love so divine.
We dine breakfast well.