First statement and first thought. It is the Easter season, please remember that! The one most important point of this season is Jesus has risen from the grave, the other important point is that the apostles and disciples are witness to the event. That is not to say that other events are not occurring. Events of the world continue both then and now. This is not a vacuum. Armies march, emperors build, politician’s babble and scream. People profit and people loose. Complex world, isn’t it? Think about today, can anyone miss the soap boxes? Can any hear the opinions? The anger pulling from every direction. There is not just one podium, the theatre is full of them and each is calling out for a crowd. They all clamor for attention, they all seek their audience. It is Easter, but the world does not stand still though it should. Not everyone notices, and to others it is an annoyance. In the midst of this is the Sanhedrin, the authority, and they scream the loudest? Authorities exert authority, they apply pressure. There stands Peter, the disciples, and me. That Sanhedrin Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 wants the Apostles to change their position, to alter their tone, and preach something different. One point of view, and then another. Interesting ho in this confrontation Peter stands up, he does not cower to their might. He sees the merit of Christ’s message with an astonishing clarity and gone is the disciple’s vagueness so evident when Christ was condemned prior to the crucifixion. A cock crowed three times, marking Peter’s denial. Now, he sees clearly. Listen to then politicians and their crowds clamor today, is that our standing before our present day Sanhedrin? An authority by popularity, or by authority, or both. Can we scream “we must obey God rather than men?” Peter with a renewed authority, or is it a Peter of repentance. Did he learn his lesson? Did he gain the courage to correct a mistake? Jesus did preach forgiveness of sins, a contrite heart the Lord will not spurn. It’s Easter, and Peter has not lost sight of his Lord. It’s Easter, when the crowd screams, what do I shout back. How is my sight, and where is my focus? Can I see the Lord guiding me? Is it obedience, or do I deny a risen Lord?
After the crucifixion the world did not stand still, though perhaps it should have. Still and on its knees, but it did not. Peter and the Apostles had to return to life as normal. To normal, what is that? To their expected cadence, to a predictable and expected movement? Peter, a fisherman, went back to his trade and picked up where he left off. Back on a boat and dragging a net.Jn 21:1-19 The routine, really? After his journeys on those seas weeks ago, could his vision of that corner of the world remain the same? Can he return to normal, and more importantly can he resume normal as expected to? Expectations. Hopes crushed, by the expectations of others. Hopes crushed by the demands of others. Peter on the sea after the events of Good Friday is an emotional experience. Peter is human, emotion and hope and fear and question are all within his domain. Hopes dashed, lives crushed, and now a return to #$@*$$% normal? You gotta be kidding! Picking up the pieces of a shattered hope. Grudge on he must, but then a voice. “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” Crowds scream, each calling for attention, each saying “follow me.” Peter us trying to pick up the pieces, but which piece will he gather and what will he toss away. A voice called out, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” They tossed their net and picked up the pieces. It was an abundant harvest, and their suffering turned to a feast. This time Peter knew what to pick up, what to cherish, and what to throw away.
The stories of the resurrection always amaze me. They amaze me in how the apostles and disciples see the risen Lord. They amaze me in how Jesus appears to them. In the first reading it is through a conflict with the world. A conflict with authority. Here they see the value of Christ’s message, and through that vision they gain a strength. Granted they do not receive a physical vision of the Lord, but they do not lose sight of him either. A Vision none the less, even if it is through mind and heart. They don’t simply see Christ, they become Christ like. They grow in wisdom and understanding.
On the sea their vision changes in a very visible world. Sights and sounds and events charged with emotion. Not intellect, but emotion. Do I doubt that those fisherman spoke to Christ on the shore? No, I do not. The location confirms my belief, they went precisely where Jesus told them to go. At that precise location it would have been easier to cast their gaze away from the world than to be blind to the presence of the Lord. On that sea their eyes were wide open, a clarity of vision tuned through their experience. It is how they looked at the world, as an artist stares into a canvas. Visual acuity, observant to those around them. How could they not see the Lord? To the contrary, they might have done everything in their power to look another way. In fact, this gives hint for the reason of Christmas. Its the why of Christ entering into the lives of the disciples at a place they were intimately familiar with. He entered their lives in their world, their planet, their earth. The reason? Simply so that they would see him and not be able to turn away. Once Jesus entered their lives, He entered for an eternity. A vision that would never pass. The problem with their being blind to Christ, is that the power of Christ far exceeded theirs, and He is the one that taught them to see. Not in a classroom, but on Galilee. Jesus healed the blind, the disciples could see.Easter.
Easter, the joy of Jesus Christ spotted on he shores of Galilee. The joy of Christ alive on the shore, and not the death left on the hilltop outside Jerusalem. A vision of the resurrected Lord, not in a temple by a priest but in the world by His disciples. Never hidden again. Not as witnessed by another, but by themselves.