• Malcolm

Advent Reflection -- December 16


The First Breakfast

Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast your net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

John 21: 2-6

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

John 21: 9-12

On the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, only a short distance from Capernaum there is a modest cooking fire. A single figure attends to the fire, supplied only with fish and bread. The time is near dawn, with only the faintest hint of light over the heights to the east. A few yards out from the shore, a boat scarcely large enough for the men and their nets floats on the calm water. The night’s work has yielded no reward.

From ashore a voice calls, somehow familiar, inviting them to come to the fire and the food.

It is Peter who is over the side of the boat, wading ashore in response to Jesus’s call. In John’s Gospel we hear Peter’s and Jesus’s dialog at this breakfast following the Resurrection:

“Peter, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my lambs.” “Peter, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Tend my sheep.” Peter, do you love me?” “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep.”

John 21: 15-17

The first breakfast is about the feeding of God’s people, all of God’s children. It is about the feeding of each one, including the last, the least, the lonely, and the lost. They, and we, are God’s people. He loves them, and so may we. “Feed my sheep,” were Jesus’s words to Peter at dawn in Galilee. “Feed my sheep” also are Jesus’s words to us in Advent.


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