10 Apr – Easter Friday
While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
Come and have breakfast
Recently, things have been a little tense at home of late. A seemingly simple comment or response can spark an entire war. Words are exchanged and tempers flare. It’s so easy sometimes to enter into conflict at home. I think half the time, the conflicts are exacerbated when we try more desperately to explain ourselves. The message and words are misinterpreted (together with the tone of voice), and miscommunications happens at a level where we find it harder to redeem ourselves. We swear internally never to ever put ourselves in such a situation again. Better still if we can limit our interactions with the other. But as time passes, our hearts begin to soften and the cycle begins again. How do we forgive the hurts we accumulate overtime? How do we restore the damaged ties?
In today’s Gospel, we see the response of the disciples to Jesus’ resurrection. Of particular note is Peter’s reaction to Christ. Remember this is Peter, who had rejected Christ thrice, in spite of his own self-professed loyalty. Imagine, how would you have felt if you were in Peter’s shoes, after having met Jesus again? This was a person who mattered to him. Someone who knew him intimately and whom he had spent a lot of time with. Yet, in the very last moment’s of this person’s life, all that Peter did was to deny ever knowing him. This was to be his very last interaction with Christ, before his crucifixion on the cross. There was no chance of restoring his relationship. No chance of explaining or even apologising for his actions to Jesus. One can only imagine the immense wave of emotion that Peter must have felt upon seeing Christ again! Unable to believe his eyes, he jumped into the water, eager to make amends – it was Peter who did as Jesus told, and hauled the net of fish onto shore. What struck me the most however, is Jesus’ response – gentle and kind, he makes a meal for his disciples (Peter included) and invites them, “Come and have breakfast”. He invites them to share a meal with him – something that they are all to familiar with.
Jesus response reminds me of my mother’s reaction to me after some of our heated quarrels. She tries to restore some form of intimacy in our lives by behaving as if nothing was wrong. She offers me food and talks to me about random things. You can see it is her way of trying to maintain, protect and preserve our relationship. There is something comforting about normalcy. Especially after a storm. Her efforts softens my initial bitterness and I am reminded about what it means to be family. Love is a bond that is challenging to keep. But it needs to be worked at constantly. I am reminded by Jesus’ gracious love to be mindful of the love of mine own family, and how I can try to echo that back in return. May we strive this Easter to keep alive the bonds of love between ourselves and our family.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: We pray for the wisdom as to how we can respond to our family members with love, and restore relationships that have been broken.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for your bountiful mercy in our lives.