Dear Friends in Christ,
Although deeply spiritual and theologically profound, St. John’s Gospel records some very personal moments in the life of Jesus, such as when he wept at the death of Lazarus, and the incident recorded in today’s Gospel when the risen Lord cooked his disciples a fish for breakfast, inviting them to ‘Come and have breakfast’. We learn that God cares for us body and soul. By death the soul is separated from the body but our hope is that they will be reunited on the last day. The resurrection of Jesus revealed the nature of this new body – a risen body, infused with God’s light and life, and not prone to sin and death.
The breakfast story leads into the fascinating exchange between Jesus and Peter in which the fisherman was asked three times to feed the Lord’s sheep. What did this mean? It meant that as the Rock he was called to ensure that believers were fed with nourishment of Christ. We see this in Peter’s first letter. Like new-born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. One way we can literally feed off this pure spiritual milk is by praying and studying Peter’s two letters. When we do this we draw directly from the original rock on which the Church was built, the pure well of our salvation.
If we do not feed we grow weak, and unhealthy. The same is true in our spiritual lives and the staple diet from which we feed is prayer, the Scriptures, the teachings of the Church (the Magisterium) and lectio divina (spiritual reading). Supremely we feed from the Eucharist, food for our soul, and food which is good for this life and the next. God has given us rich sources of spiritual food – we do not live in a parched and weary land, but rather a banquet of teaching and spiritual life has been prepared for us. Just as with our physical bodies, eating on the run is not ideal; we need to carve out time and space to be with the Lord.
Lord, I give you praise and thanks for the table from which we feed – the Word of God, the tradition of the Church, and the source and summit of our faith, the Holy Eucharist.