Mac the Great Dane is 4 years old. That sounds young and I suppose it is. However, sometimes Great Danes can get older a little quicker than other dogs and this has been the case for Mac. He enjoys his walks still, but they are slower and shorter than they would have been a year or so ago. Once he would have enjoyed playing with Charley our Pug cross but as time has gone one, he began out of play time. It’s not that he was unhappy, he just lacked energy and lost the enthusiasm. In the absence of all of this he has sought out comfort; the comfort of our settee!
A curious thing has begun to happen, though, and it has taken us all by surprise. Every now and then we hear what sounds like a lion roaring from our back garden. We know that sound and so we know it is the sound of our very vocal Great Dane… playing! Mac has started to play with Cody our new Bernese/ St Bernard pup (I say pup but he’s a big boy already). They growl at each other and Cody dances round Mac with the deftness of a pup. Mac bounces up and down on the spot, bowing every now and then and having a right old time. He has regained some of the lost energy and enthusiasm.
In the Gospel today we have a reading from the end of John’s Gospel. At the beginning we join 7 of Jesus’s friends who were feeling like Mac was- lacking energy and enthusiasm. They didn’t know what to do with themselves. They didn’t know where they were going. And so, they sought out comfort- for them it wasn’t a settee it was fishing. During what was an unsuccessful trip they hear a strange call to them from the shore. He tells them to throw their nets out one more time but in a different direction. Reluctantly they do so and, well, we know the rest- they catch more fish than they could have wished for.
It isn’t this miraculous catch of fish that captures me in this story, it is what happens next. We come to know that the stranger is Jesus, risen from the dead. As his friends come ashore Jesus lights a charcoal fire, cooks and eats breakfast with them. We live the story through Peter’s encounter with Jesus round the fire. It is a wonderfully intimate scene filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and wisdom. If you have two minutes (because that is all it will take) I would invite you to read the passage. You can get it here.
Following this meal round a fire at the side of a lake Peter and the rest of Jesus’s friends find their energy again. They find enthusiasm once again. They are ready for the mission of their lives- to spread the Good News of Jesus risen and of God’s love for all. In order for this transformation, they needed to encounter Jesus.
Encountering the right people at the right time in our lives can be a joy. Just like the apostles who encountered Jesus round the fire, these encounters can be transformative.
Take a moment now and call to mind those people you have encountered in your life who have led to a transformation in your life. Hold them in your memory in love. Be grateful.
In this Easter season, let us all respond to the invitation to encounter the Risen Jesus in our lives, trough prayer, scripture, liturgy.
Let us also encounter the same Risen Jesus in the sick, the poor, the lonely, the addict, the homeless brother or sister and allow them to transform us into beacons of light, love and hope for the world.