Sunday, April 10, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

“When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back. When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you.”  — Morihei Veshiba

There are only two places in John’s Gospel where a charcoal fire appears.

One is in the courtyard where Peter denies Jesus three times — “before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice.”

The second time is at the shore where Peter and the disciples eat fish cooked on the charcoal fire. Peter professes three times that he loves the Lord — “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.”

This is not only a rehabilitation of Peter, but clearly these two stories are tied together.

Typical of resurrection stories, the disciples first do now recognize the Lord, and then they do.

Clearly something has changed, even about his appearance, since the resurrection. But in these appearance stories, Jesus calls by name, or has a conversation, pulling his disciples or the women into a deeper moment in which they are able to recognize Jesus.

Thomas, Peter, John and the others even come to recognize him spiritually, not just as Jesus, but as Lord: “It is the Lord; my Lord and my God.”

Jesus providing a meal is also a prominent detail.

Just a little while before at the last supper — the meal and his death.

And now he gives them something to eat — the meal and his resurrection.

Jesus feeds his disciples, and not just with food for the body but, more importantly, with food for the soul.

Just like at Emmaus, they “know him in the breaking of the bread,” and they are overjoyed — “weren’t our hearts burning within us?”

Again, Jesus tells them to cast their nets; they catch so many fish, yet their nets do not break. They do and will participate in the mission of Jesus; it will lead them to their death, and yet the mission does not and will not break or fall apart.

In spite of errors and denials, and such a dismal inability to really see, Jesus leads his disciples forward to become the foundation of a community of believers.

In these resurrection stories, we see a powerful new life infused into the disciples and the early community of believers.

Jesus has been raised up!

If mission and meal and recognition and professions of love and faith aren’t enough; this story puts the final stamp upon all that has happened here in just two words: “Follow me!”

This is the Easter call. This is the disciple moment. This is the joy of the recently baptized.


Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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