Lowering the Barr
Greetings on the Third Sunday of Easter
Readings: ACTS 5:27-32, 40B-41; PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13; REV 5:11-14; JN 21:1-19
Everything Is Broken
On this third Sunday of Easter we see the scene in the Gospel of John of just how broken and dejected the disciples were.
The defeat in Jerusalem with the crucifixion of Jesus cast a deep sense of desolation upon them.The writer of John places them back as fishermen not to the Sea of Galilee but to the Sea of Tiberias. It’s the same body of water but the Tiberias name is in honor of the second emperor of Rome, Tiberius. It is a not so subtle way of saying the disciples did not return to their Jewish roots but to the slavery of the domain of the roman overlords.
So they restart the old business returning to their former occupation being fishermen.
Failure has a tendency to do that to a person. We are tempted to regress to a former way of living. Not that the former way was bad or anything but after having been a part of this radical revolution of man’s encounter with God it simply an empty life.
SO THEY WENT OUT AND GOT INTO THE BOAT, BUT THAT NIGHT THEY CAUGHT NOTHING.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. This former honorable life is not for them now.
It is good to note that Jesus has already appeared to the disciples twice already and now the third time. Yet even still they are slow to recognize him. How was this a differential appearance?
CHILDREN, HAVE YOU CAUGHT ANYTHING TO EAT? (NO) CAST THE NET OVER THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BOAT AND YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING.
Tradition holds the 153 fish caught were equal to the number of species of fish in the Sea of Galilee signifying an abundant world-wide catch.
Jesus asks them to bring some of the fish to commingle it with the fish he has already prepared. It is the divine-human cooperation of participating in the divine salvific plan.
Yet, it cannot yet continue. Something must happen first.
Simon, son of John
Do you love me?
Jesus addresses Simon not as Peter – the name he gave him – but with the birth name he was given. He is meeting Peter where he is being stuck in the natural life without hope.
But love beacons. You know I love you.
Feed my lambs.
Tend my sheep.
Feed my sheep.
And so Peter is forgiven his betrayal and all at once is also renewed in the love that calls him forward to radical love.
It is good to lower the bar but not always
The embarrassing activities of the Attorney General of the United States and the entire Department of Justice has lowered the Barr indeed. The tragic truth is not for the purpose of the salvific needs of the human family, not for the beacon of love, and not for encouraging a Peter-like great confession and profession.
The country has been bruised by Attorney General Barr because he is excusing a betrayer and offering him unlimited power.
The Barr is lowered not toward radical love but the unleashing of monstrous hatred and self-interest.
Tiberius was just such a brooding, sexual monster. He set the tone for what was about to happen in the empire. We might want to learn from history.
Who Beacons You?
Jesus beacons. He beacons with fish, bread and love.
He calls you to the work of forgiveness, salvation and love.
Choose well the Barr you go over.