John 21: 1-14/ C

This last chapter of John is also the last contemplation in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

main point
The disciples, especially Peter, were at loose ends. They perhaps were unable to make sense of the implications of the resurrection and could npt see how to procede. So they tried instead to go back to what had once been their lives before they met Jesus … fishing.

new light/truth
As Thomas Wolfe said, you can’t go home again, can’t recover the past. The disciples were unable to catch any fish.

As I neared the end of the Spiritual Exercises online retreat, I realized that I was like the disciples in this passage. Before the retreat, I was an agnostic but the process of those 30 odd weeks changed me. I wasn’t sure how to go forward (still not sure) yet I couldn’t go back to how things had been before the retreat.


7 responses

  1. Of course in this gospel text Jesus shows up and tells them to put down tehri nets once again and they haul in a monster catch.In real life the spirit is a bit more subtle — and we are never quite sure what we have heard.

  2. I remember reading somewhere (I don’t remember where – memory isn’t what it used to be)about a painting that depicted the scene of the disciples fishing and the Lord cooking breakfast for them. There were a lot of purples in the painting and it was said that there was a shellfish prized by the Greeks at that time for its rich purple dye. Divers searched the sea floor for this elusive fish. This is how the word “Kalchaino” came to be the Greek’s expression for plumbing the depths of one’s mind. It was said that some thought the whole image of Jn 21 was an invitation to ingest Christ. The nets full of fish Christ helped them catch, as well as the fish he’s cooking on shore after his death are interpreted as assurances that we’re ready to take in the full meaning of Christ himself. (In dream language, eating or being about to eat something is oftern a signal that there’s submerged content ready to be assimilated.) Interesting idea, anyway.

  3. Not sure about the Greek. the Latin word for your shellfish is Murex. Its the critter they dyed Caesar’s robes in to make royal (Imperial) purple.

  4. A new preacher came to the church and preached a great sermon; next Sunday he preached it again, and the third Sunday, and the fourth.Finally the lay leader asked him if he had any other sermons. The preacher said, sure, as soon as you act on the first one, I’ll preach another one.Crystal, in my experience the Light shines on the next step, and no further light appears until I take that first step.Blessings to all.

  5. David – yeah, if only I could meet Jesus on the beach and he’d fill me in like he did Peter … I’m sure Fr. Marsh would say – “So why can’t you?” :-)Twyla – that’s very interesting about the shellfish and the purpleness. I read somewhere that the number of fish they caught, 153, was supposedly the number of known species of fish at the time. Eating has lots of significance … eucharistic stuff, etc.Larry – yes, the next step … I always seem to be takingtwo steps back and one forward 🙂

  6. Atheist… agnostic… believer…These are the categories we’ve carved out for religious significance.Experience. Awareness. Identity. This is where I find meaning now.

  7. Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful

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