Monday, April 16, 2007

And much fish

This Sunday, 22nd April is the Third of Easter and the readings are Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

There is a confluence of feast days this week,
St George's Day (which is important to some of my parishioners!) on April 23 (also my mother-in laws birthday!) ANZAC Day (important in Australia as a commemoration of the First War) and St Mark's Day both of these latter on April 25.

I have written recently about some aspects of this week's gospel narrative (here)

There is in this passage a mixture of the historical and the symbolical
this is not to denigrate either of these important aspect of literary style.
Quite to the contrary, they rather work together
to give us a more complete picture.
John's gospel always seems to offer a richness
which is worth pondering on as there is usually more there than meets the eye.

There are two simple things immediately apparent
The first is (as noted in my earlier commentary)
that John is providing the logical development and conclusion
to the story of Peter's betrayal.
Peter, who has betrayed Jesus
not once but three times
is given the opportunity to make it up
....not once but three times.
At the very least, this shows the way God deals with us
not just matter of factly
but with care and consideration
attending to the depth of the restoration
that is needed
and not just going through the motions, however thorough.

There is also an abundance of material flowing out of John's pen (or quill I suppose)
which is providing the closure of his treatise on the gift of eternal life.

We see being concluded in these final chapters of John
what is posited in the opening chapters
that the Word made flesh
is drawing people
in their human lives into the relationship with God
we called abundant and eternal life.

The mystical fish that are caught...153...
sometimes taken to be all the nations of the world
a sign of the universality of this eternal life
that is being offered:
God so loves the world
not just a select handful of initiates
or one tiny little nation

we sometimes miss some of this important symbolism.

But if we bring the two together
we recognise that nor is it just about understanding the mystery of faith
it is struggling with how this is worked out in our lives.
It is not secret mystical knowledge - Gnosis
It is the fleshliness of our lives
it's the emotional trauma we get into
because of failure, weakness, betrayal

This is the world in which the Divine Word has been made flesh.

The very ground in which God's salvation will be worked out
is not mysticism
it is life.
Not that we should treat this lightly
or even assume that we understand it terribly well.
We often muck it up.
Or run away from it.
We need to plummet its depths,
with Jesus for sure
and encounter the woundedness of the risen Christ
as we also open our own woundedness up to him..

This week
Where is God inviting me to be deeper?
Where do I need to allow Christ to meet me and restore my life?
Can I pray for courage to attend to the most difficult depths and to allow Jesus to bring eternal life to me there?

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