‘Come and have breakfast’


Friday, Octave of Easter – 17 April 2020

First reading

Acts 4:1-12The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

WHILE Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees.

They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day.

But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families.

They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today.

‘This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

“It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.”


John 21:1-1Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

JESUS showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together.

Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’

So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.

Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’

None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


TODAY, we leave the Gospel of St. Luke and reflect on another Appearance of the Risen Lord in St. John. There are altogether four Appearance accounts in St. John’s Gospel:

  • Appearance to Mary of Magdala early Sunday Morning (Jn 20:11-18)
  • Appearance to the disciples minus Thomas, evening of the same day (Jn 20:19-23)
  • Appearance to the disciples plus Thomas, the following Sunday (Jn 20:24-29)
  • Appearance to Peter and 6 others (Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and 2 more) by the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (21:1-23).

We are on the fourth Appearance, but the third to the disciples.

The “Sea of Tiberias” is a lake in Galilee, northern Israel, the lowest fresh water lake in the world, fed by the water of the River Jordan. In the gospels, the same lake is also called “Sea of Galilee”, “Sea/Lake of Tiberias”, “Lake of Gennesaret”.

The Breakfast came from the Lord. His Easter Call to His disciples was to contribute some of the 153 big fish, caught by the Lord’s initiative anyway.

The district surrounding the Lake features prominently in the public life of Jesus. He started preaching and proclaimed the Coming of the Kingdom in Galilee and established His ministry base at Capernaum by the shore of the Lake.

Many of His first disciples were fishermen whose livelihood depended on the Lake. It was to Galilee that the Risen Lord told His disciples to go to meet Him. We may say that Galilee was the base of the first community of faith, a beloved place filled with unforgettable memories of what the Lord said and did there.

The disciples had returned to Galilee from Jerusalem after the drama of the death and resurrection of their Master. Life seemed to have returned to some normalcy, but there was also a lot of lingering indecision. What next? as they waited and waited for fresh instruction from the Lord. Hence, Peter appeared to be making a deliberate break either away from his reluctance to return to his fishing trade or from the boredom of waiting. ‘I’m going fishing’.

That night’s fishing in the Sea of Tiberias turned out to be a trip starting from the deep memory lane of fishermen into the highway of being fishers of men. They toiled the whole night and caught nothing.

This was not new. It had happened three years earlier when the Lord told Peter and his partners James and John to go far into the deep for a catch after a tiresome night of catching nothing (Lk 5:5).

Three years ago, the result was stunning: they caught so many fish that they filled two boats with fish to sinking point. This Easter Time, just a mere 100 yards from shore, they caught 153 very big fish! So struck were they; they even remember the exact number.

Three years ago, they clearly knew it was the new Preacher Jesus of Nazareth who suggested making a cast far out, in the deep. This time, it needed the discerning eyes and ears of a perceptive youngster to reveal the identity of the new humanity who said: ‘Throw your net to starboard (right side of those in the boat) and you will find something’.

Previously after the big catch Peter reacted fearfully not wanting to get involved: ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man’. But then the Lord did not relent, He called Peter, James and John to be fishers of men. This Easter Time, hearing “It is the Lord!” a very different Peter, who had practically nothing on, jumped immediately into the water to meet his Risen Lord on the shore! 

There was more this Easter Time. Breakfast was ready on shore, prepared by the Lord Himself.  St. John clearly alludes this breakfast to the Eucharist, Jesus’ total giving of Himself: “Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish”.

Make no mistake. The Breakfast came from the Lord. His Easter Call to His disciples was to contribute some of the 153 big fish, caught by the Lord’s initiative anyway.

“None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord.”

By the way, the most ancient secret code Christians used to identify each other safely in the time of persecution was that of a fish (see above). Greek word for fish in the time of Jesus was ἰχθύς (ichthus),  acronym for “Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ” (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour”.

Now we know why Christian pilgrims to Galilee must eat Peter’s Fish, a glorified Talapia from the Lake of Galilee in memory of the Risen and Glorified Lord who continues to help us to stop our hunger and break our fast in the Eucharist. This is a mystagogy on the Eucharist, for the neophytes and all who have renewed their baptismal promises at Easter.

Will we return to “normalcy” even after meeting the Risen Lord, even after we celebrate Mass Sunday after Sunday?

In the Gospel of St. John, this story of the third appearance of Jesus to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias actually continues after breakfast, with a stiff and clear instruction from the Risen Fisher of Men (Jn. 21:15-23).

The Risen Lord challenged Peter as many times as he had betrayed Him: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do???” Then the Risen Lord’s clear command not to return to be fisherman but to “Feed my lambs”, “Look after my sheep”, “Feed my sheep”.

Cover Image: Paintings by by James Jacques Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836-1902). Biography. Nearly all of Tissot’s paintings of the Life of Christ (1884-1896) are rendered in opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper and are owned by the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Quote Image: The Appearance at the Sea of Tiberias by William Hole.

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