May 2019: The Deep End
Third Sunday of Easter
5 May 2019
The Deep End • Come and have breakfast
The theme of light and darkness in John’s Gospel is strong. In today’s reading, we hear that it was ‘just after daybreak’ when Jesus appeared to the disciples. The disciples had been fishing all night but caught nothing. Then, with the dawn, Jesus appears on the beach and gently suggests that they cast the nets on the other side of the boat. We are invited to reflect on resurrection here, moments where we were given a sense of new life, and with that, an abundance of gifts. Perhaps a friendship had broken down or we were dealing with a crisis. Like the disciples, we may have simply been going through the motions of day to day life, in the dark, without much enthusiasm. And then… daybreak. A gentle voice guided us, a friend or in a moment of prayer. In time, we realised that this was Jesus’ voice pointing us in the right direction, and once we allowed ourselves to be guided by Him, the ‘catch’ was huge.
The end of the passage sees Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Peter is once again by a charcoal fire so this scene mirrors the three denials of Peter during the trial of Jesus. Peter becomes upset, and one can understand the regrets he must have. Yet here, Jesus is giving Peter the space to undo his denials. There is healing, new life. We can imagine Jesus’ question to Peter at the end of the passage being addressed to us: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?… Tend my sheep!’ Place yourself in this story throughout the week.
Fourth Sunday of Easter
12 May 2019 • Day of Prayer for Vocations
The Deep End • I know them
John’s Gospel is sometimes referred to as the ‘spiritual Gospel,’ as it has beautiful, reflective passages. During the Easter season, we read and hear mostly from John. It is a lovely opportunity to meditate more deeply on the Word. Today, we are given the image of Jesus as the Shepherd and of his people as the flock. We hear the words ‘I know them.’ Jesus knows each person intimately. He knows our deepest desires, our worries and fears, our insecurities and pain. Jesus is as close to us as our own breathing. Nobody can interfere with this intimate friendship, even though at times we may feel differently. We may experience discrimination because of our faith, or be attacked in some way. When things are not going so well, we may feel as if Jesus has abandoned us; sometimes we simply want to give up on the whole thing. We become distant. Let this passage be a reminder to us that Jesus is always very close to us and knows our struggles. We simply need to share those struggles and fears with Him, for ‘no one will snatch them [you] out of my hand.’ We may forget this from time to time. This week, can you spend five minutes each day meditating on this passage? Focus on the breath. A phrase to repeat might be: ‘Jesus, I know that you are as close to me as my own breathing.’
Fifth Sunday of Easter
19 May 2019
The Deep End • Love one another
‘Love one another’ is the basic principle of Christianity, to love as Jesus loved. It is simple, yet we can make it so complicated. Jesus’ love was controversial for some people, because it was love without exclusion. To love as Jesus loved is to love those it is hard to love. This love ultimately led to Jesus’ death. Jesus loved sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, people of other religions, the poor, the unwanted, the sick, the beggar, the leper. This love is too much for some Christians today also. It is hard to love the sinner or to love family members or friends who have hurt us. Yet this is the love that we are called to. Once we begin to accept that we are infinitely loved by God, it is like a domino effect where that love is poured outwards in our lives. We are part of this outpouring of God’s creative love and are called to bring this into places where there is none. In this way we are helping to heal, sustain and nourish this world.
Let us hear those words of the Gospel more clearly today: ‘Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.’ Let us dream of, and work towards, a world where this is a reality.
‘God has given us the power to create beauty, to make another smile, to be a healing presence in someone’s sorrow, to bring justice to the oppressed, to console those in difficulty, to bring peace and joy to others, to help those in need, to laugh and enjoy life, to do good and turn from evil, to forgive those who have hurt us, and, most of all, to love.’ – IRIS PEREZ
Sixth Sunday of Easter
26 May 2019
The Deep End • We will come to them
In a verse preceding today’s Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus why he will not show the whole world who he is. It’s an excellent question. Surely this whole faith-journey experience and relationship with God would be far easier if there were fireworks and clear instructions. Jesus’ response to the disciples is: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ This is the opening line of today’s Gospel. It reminds us that what is required first is an inner relationship with God, so that God can come and make a home with us: ‘we will come to them and make our home with them.’ It is there where we discover who Jesus is.
The peace (shalom) that Jesus gives to the disciples has a much richer meaning than we might first think. This ‘shalom’ is not simply a good wish for a nice evening; it is, rather, a peace that this world cannot offer. It is a peace that comes from a loving relationship with God; a peace of body, of mind and of spirit. Jesus is asking the disciples to be an unending witness to God’s love. They (and we) must be for others what Jesus has been for them. In this way we, and the world, will come to see who Jesus is.
‘When we understand the essential unity of all that is, we discover the possibility of ‘peace’ – the kind of peace that in Hebrew is called shalom, and which is infinitely more than an absence of strife; it is the wholeness of the web of life itself and of every creature in it, held in the wholeness of the one God.’ – MARGARET SILF