Breakfast on the beach with Jesus


In John’s account of Jesus’s revealing himself to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, I notice the interplay between the ordinary and the extraordinary. On the one hand, their realization that “It is the Lord” (Jn 21:7) is a moment when the extraordinary breaks into the everyday practices of fishing on the sea. Peter, ever passionate, jumps into the sea rather than go through all the steps to get the boat back to shore. The gospel author notes that he is “lightly clad” so I imagine him arriving on shore, sopping wet, clothes clinging, but overjoyed to see Jesus again. Peter’s jumping into the water is reminiscent of an earlier occasion in another gospel, in which he attempts to walk on water but falls due to his lack of faith and must be rescued by Jesus (Mt 14:29). This second time Peter is less concerned with proofs about faith; he is simply “all in.”

Jesus then cooks them breakfast, and they eat bread and fish together. That moment is among my favorite in all the Resurrection scenes because there is such a depth of love in Jesus’ simple act of cooking and eating with them. Jesus is being very nurturing toward them. I love the beach and imagine them sitting around a fire, Peter warming up to dry off, breaking bread and eating fish together before Peter and Jesus take a walk and reconcile (but that is in another reading).

Consider all the occasions on which we cook and eat as a way to be with one another.  My son is about to be confirmed tonight, and so I am hosting family for whom I cooked Italian food last night, and today there will be more shared meals. My family and my husband’s is not Catholic, as my son and I are. We have an Episcopalian married to a Baptist, two Disciples of Christ (one of whom grew up Methodist), a person who grew up Quaker, a former Lutheran, one Catholic, and several agnostics. As a friend of mine joked, it’s like an ecumenical council that should have happened a long time ago. But despite the differences in church, we all will eat together multiple times this weekend, and for me that will be Eucharistic, in the way that Jesus’s meal with the disciples on the beach is resonant with Eucharist.

2 thoughts on “Breakfast on the beach with Jesus

Comments are closed.