In the imagination of most Christians that morning on the Sea of Tiberius was the most beautiful morning ever. With the light off the water, even squinting, the Apostles had trouble making out the man on the shore. They were grown men. Now, who could be calling them “Children?”
“The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.”
We all feel that the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was John himself. Perhaps he left it indefinite to allow you to imagine yourself in that role. You are sure that If you had been there you would have recognized Jesus.
John’s Gospel paired Peter and John at the Last Supper, then, again they were paired on their run up to the tomb; and now here. John is pictured as being more intimate with Jesus, while Peter was the leader. The great scholar on John’s Gospel, Father Ray Brown, told an auditorium of us once that the pairing of Peter and John in these stories represented a rivalry that developed between the followers of Peter and those of John late in the First Century. I timidly raised my hand, suggesting that rather than rivalry what was suggested is that Peter, representing authority in the Church; and John, stood for holiness. The stories of the two together tell us that church leaders and church saints must always recognize the importance of each other. Father Brown said, “Of course, you are free to take that pacific view if you want to.”
I like seeing all the popes who followed Peter as being one with him in the fidelity to Jesus that had him leaping into the water.
The one hundred fifty-three large fish present scholars with a problem. They love finding the symbolic meaning of all Scriptural numbers, but they can find no hidden meaning here. It hurts the scholars that they are forced to conclude that the only reason the Gospel had for saying there were one hundred and fifty-three fish there was that there actually were one hundred and fifty three fish there.