Come, have breakfast
FRIDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER - John 21:1-14. The events in this Gospel reading are commemorated in the Holy Land at Tabgha on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, very near Caphernaum. This picture shows the intrior of the little church at Tabgha called "The Primacy of Peter." Within the sanctuary is the rock called the "Mensa Christi" or "Table of Christ" whereon Jesus is said to have cooked the bread and fish to feed his disciples.
There are a number of notable details in the story. Peter and the disciples return to what they know: fishing. Here in John's Gospel, Jesus does what he says he is going to do in the Synoptics: he meets his disciples in Galilee.
The miraculous catch of fish is reminiscent of the story recorded in Luke 5 at the BEGINNING of Jesus' ministry and the call of Peter. Perhaps it is the same story and John has simply moved it to this place. Or maybe he is telling the story as a second event that helps Peter recognize the risen Lord (giving Peter a kind of deja vu moment). Both stories end with Jesus telling Peter to "Follow."
The particular meal: Bread and fish, is intended by John to remind his reader of Chapter 6: the feeding of 5000 and the Bread of Life Discourse, wherein John gives his complete Eucharistic theology. Like the Emmaus story in Luke 24, this post resurrection story is a Eucharistic story.
Finally, I would invite you to see in Jesus' invitation to "breakfast" more than a simple invitation to eat. He doesn't invite them simply to eat. He invites them to break their fast. They are invited to let go of the fear and sadness that has typified their lives since the crucifixion. They have fasted from joy because the bridegroom has not been with them . But now they must break their fast because the bridegroom is with them again (Mark 2, Matthew 9) and will continue to be with them.
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Fr. Bart Hutcherson, OP
Fr. Bart Hutcherson, OP is a Roman Catholic Priest & a Friar of the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus-USA. He is on the Pastoral Staff at Most Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch, California, and uses this page to post Homilies and Scripture reflections.