FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
JOHN 21: 1-14
MAY 5, 2019
Why don’t we ever have holy pictures of Jesus cooking, grilling food, baking bread, being in the kitchen fixing a meal? When we think of Jesus saying, “Follow me,” we think of walking on water, crucifixion, raising the dead to life, multiplying food for the crowds who are hungry. So we think, “That is not anything I can do.” So this “follow me” can be kind of off-putting if not confusing.
In today’s gospel we have a very clear scene of Jesus preparing breakfast for his wayward “followers” who did not follow very well when he was being executed. Though they lied, were cowards, ran away, he still cooks for them. He offers them bread and grilled fish. Bread takes time to make. It is not store bought. So Jesus has been busy through the night preparing to feed these guys. He does not complain. Rather his feeding them is an act of forgiveness. They certainly did not earn this breakfast from good behavior. Jesus cooks with boundless love and acceptance.
So cooking, being a kitchen person for people who may have done your wrong, or ignored you, is a way to “follow me.” How many of us see cooking for others as beneath us, or a drudgery, or unfair. We might then do it with resentment and self-pity. I suspect that we would have fewer vocations if all these priests had to cook for others on a daily basis. We prefer, many of us, to be waited on when it comes to food preparation.
Why not think of cooking, baking, food shopping and preparation, as being right up there with raising the dead and walking on water. It is not a lesser task, but one that can keep our egos right-sized if we can do it with acceptance, then joy, and finally with love. My Mom was this way with us wayward kids. Well, my sisters were wayward. I was perfect!😇