Tuesday, October 16, 2018

When the disciples who were fishing 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

Christ on the beachThe Gospel of John to provide details, often details with no specific reasoning why they are included.  Possibly they are there to reassure us the reality of the moment. One hundred and fifty- three large fish?  The net was not torn?  Fish on the campfire, yet Jesus asks that they bring some of theirs?  I end to believe that these details meant something significant for John, but for we who read his words now … they are but clues to a mystery.

But today … I speak of that quality of Christian faith that enables us to “see” Christ when, in all honesty, we are not absolutely sure.  The disciples recognized this man of the beach on an early cooking fish to be Jesus … yet still they wanted confirmation that what they saw was actually true.

So many moments in my life when I believed I could Christ in certain faces, in certain actions, in certain places.  And yet … so often I ask in my thoughts … “Is that truly You I see, my Lord, or am I merely imagining it all?”  Faith has this enigmatic quality that the more we believe, the more we know what we believe to be true, yet … there is always this mortal uncertainty, no matter how slight, which must be bridged through the daring to believe.

I offer that it is this “bridging of the uncertainty” that activates the spiritual imagination within the depths of our being.  Faith is the “bridging of the uncertainty” which once accomplished leads us to fuller measures of certainty.  Without faith … the mysteries remain forever veiled.  Without faith … the journey is never furthered.  Without faith … we deny ourselves the obedience to serve and to love which in so doing we learn all the more about matters both human and Divine.

I cannot identify with that encounter in the mist of an early morning down by the lake.  I can smell the smoke and I can savor the taste of fish.  I can behold the Someone whom I believed to be the Lord.  And in that encounter … my soul is reassured.

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz

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