John 21: 1-19
Hidden yet revealed. In this post resurrection gospel scene, Jesus “revealed himself” on the beach, hidden as a short order, lake-front breakfast cook and he knows where the fish are. Notice he already had fish on the grill! He feeds the disciples, and they recognize him. He bids them to do as he is doing. He feeds us and asks us to do the same.
Christ is hidden in you, in all of us. St. Leo the Great writes that Christ in being born in the flesh and in giving us his body and blood enters into communion with us. It is the deepest of communions with us. It is a Holy Communion. He says the saints manifest this in a special way. The very life of God shines through them. This is very much like the post-resurrection appearances of Christ. He appears different so the apostles don’t recognize him at first. A saint is like that. The life of Christ in them is hidden yet revealed. Hidden in you and I, too!
I remember years ago, 1978, when John Paul II was newly elected. My father, my Uncle Santo and I were watching the Pope on TV at the end of one of those Masses from St. Peter’s Square. He was talking with the people, playing with the children. This was new back then, popes playing with children. My father said: “This Pope is really trying.” My uncle said this: “God is in him, really in him.” This was a revolutionary thought to me. As I grew older, I understood and thought: “Of course!” That’s what Holy Communion with God is. It’s what Holy Communion does. We are fed by Christ and we become what we receive. St. Leo says this and so does St. Augustine. We are called to this Holy Communion – to show that God is in us. The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is not rationed, we hear in John’s gospel. It is given to us all in abundance. Christ is hidden yet revealed, manifested in us all – short order cooks or gardeners – in a thousand places, to the Glory of God. Notice how he feeds them. He provides for their needs, their nourishment. More than that, he anticipates their needs; he is already there to meet them. Peter promises to do the same. With Peter, we are called to do likewise. We are called to share the abundance we have received with others. But those fish he already had on the grill. How did he land those?