What’s for breakfast?
This week’s Gospel is one of my favorite stories about Jesus in the Bible. One reason is obvious. Jesus rose from the dead and appears to the Apostles and disciples numerous times proving that he definitely has risen.
Talking to kids and teens at classes this week, I talked about what this story says to me about not only Jesus, but myself. What does God want us to know about him?
As I began the story with Peter and the disciples in the boat approaching shore, a couple of things came to mind that I may not have thought about before!
A night of exhaustion and discouragement for disciples that are reeling from the loss of their rabbi leads to an extraordinary event. A man they don’t recognize who seems to taunt them by highlighting their failure to catch any fish asks them if they caught anything to eat. Then he says, “Throw your net over the right side of the boat.”
I asked the kids and teens if they thought fish slept. Have they ever gone fishing? Maybe half had said that they had been fishing. I recalled all of the times that I fished with my Dad and brother who are quite expert and experienced with this pastime. I have eaten all kinds of caught fish that have been cleaned and descaled. Yuck! Many times, I would hear stories of how the fish were congregating in just a few areas on the lake. A good fisherman knows where those prime spots are.
Of course, fish don’t sleep. The kids thought that idea was funny. Peter and his friends had worked all night by the light of the moon. This was their job, their livelihood. How discouraging and exhausting it must have been to arrive at shore with nothing to show for it!
I could identify with the experience of failure. And there was nothing for breakfast. They didn’t catch anything. They would go home hungry.
The man on the shore says to throw your net over the right side. Did they believe him? How many times have I known that God is asking me to keep going and to try again? So they did it. They tried another time. I wondered aloud why Jesus said to put the net over the right side. Had they been fishing on the left side? Why? I asked the teens if they realized that ‘right’ has two meanings. It could mean the direction or correct. Had they been fishing on the wrong side? Was the right side the right way to fish? Was Jesus telling us that we have tried over and over again to do it our way? Maybe we should try it his way now. The Priest at our Family Mass talked about how we need to follow God’s will.
Jesus promises that if we throw out our ‘net’ like he asks, we may find a net that’s overflowing. As the kids guessed at what happens next, they thought the net would break. The net doesn’t tear or break under the weight of 153 large fish. We often think we won’t be able to do it. We think that our net will break or we don’t have the best ‘net’ for the task. God promises to strengthen our net. If we trust him, he will help us.
So Peter and the disciples find out that if they try again, their efforts will pay off. They recognize Jesus in this miracle. He then offers to make them breakfast!
So as I ended our reflection, I asked the kids to give me three things they learned from this story, I explained why I thought the breakfast was the best part.
Jesus is waiting on shore to make you breakfast. I asked about the meal that he wants to give us now. Among their guesses was the revelation of the Eucharist that we receive during the Mass. I pointed to the altar table. We are invited to this table for a meal that Jesus has prepared for us. Are we coming to the table? Jesus gives us himself in this extraordinary bread at every Mass. He’s hoping that after our long journey out in the world doing the things we need to do. that he asks us to do, we will get the nourishment that we need.
Why would we miss it?
Stay tuned for more………