April 8, 2016
We find the whole range of human expression in the scriptures—even comedy.
There’s something funny about this week’s gospel.
Not just funny weird, but funny ha-ha.
The resurrected Jesus has shown up to his followers three times, so of course that means it is time to go…fishing?
A mysterious figure appears on the beach, pointing out (maybe taunting) their lack of success, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” And despite the events of the past weeks, no one imagines that it could possibly be Jesus…again.
Their efforts have failed miserably, with nothing to show from an entire night of fishing. And yet, when they cast their nets according to Jesus’s direction, in an instant there are so many fish they almost capsize.
Peter realizes it is Jesus and that he happens to be naked in the same awkward moment.
Then in a scene worthy of Laurel and Hardy, Peter throws on his clothes and throws himself into the water. Soaked and panting he arrives, thrashing his way toward the shore. Meanwhile everyone else glides up effortlessly in the boat. You can imagine the looks on their faces, “Silly Peter, we were only a hundred yards from shore.”
And then we hear, “Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord.”
Comedy is not just entertainment, but a clever way to get at the truth. Comedy shows us something about ourselves, the world, that we might not otherwise be able to receive.
It’s funny, because it’s true. And that’s the case with this scene.
We’ve witnessed the resurrected Christ...yet how many of us just go right back to our everyday lives and mundane tasks?
Jesus appears to us, again and again…and how do we fail to notice, again and again?
We futilely toil and struggle, doing it alone, doing it our way. But what abundance would be possible if we would just listen and follow Jesus’ direction?
More often than not, when we recognize Jesus is present, it makes us painfully self-aware, even embarrassed. How do we handle those feelings?
Even in Jesus’ present, we still have doubt. Are we honest about that?
So, can we see something of ourselves in these ridiculous, bumbling disciples? Can we laugh at ourselves and learn from it?