“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. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
This lesson from the 4th Gospel, which we will hear this Sunday, was ever changed for me when I accompanied several of St. David’s members on a pilgrimage to the Diocese of Southern Malawi, Africa.
We saw many things on our journey, many of them close to overwhelming in lovely and, sometimes, challenging ways. In the midst of our two-week trip, Bishop Tengatenga had wisely scheduled a retreat for us at their diocesan camp on the shores of Lake Malawi so that we could process what we were experiencing. Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and is a major source of food.
During our stay at the lake, we watched each night as local fishermen headed out for their night’s work in simple dugout canoes. It struck me at the time that the technology and equipment they used was the same as in Jesus’s day. Through the night, we could see them out on the lake, torches lit in the front of the canoe as they worked their nets
In the morning as the sun rose they returned, their canoes burdened with the night’s catch. At our camp there had been hired for us a local cook who took care of our meals. Each morning as the fishermen returned, he walked down the beach and purchased fresh caught fish for our breakfast. Soon after, we smelled the wonderful aroma of fish cooking.
The story of Jesus cooking fish on the beach for the famished disciples became intensely real as we experienced the same sights, smells, and tastes as they had. In the Scriptural account, the disciples knew that it was Jesus who fed them though none of them dared to ask. What about us? Do we realize day by day that it is Jesus who feeds us? That Jesus knows when we are empty and our efforts seem to be without result? That it is Jesus who calls to us: “Come and be fed”?
As Jesus called to the cold and wet disciples, may we hear him calling to us, seeking to feed, and comforting us in all our needs.