Proper English usage encourages the placement of prepositions not at the end of sentences. There is a very good reason for this rule. It is that the last word or words in a sentence expresses the proper emphasis of the ideas contained within the statement. As a general rule, the preposition should begin questions; “with whom are you going” is stronger than hanging the “with” at the end and having two different subjects for one verb.
The literal meaning of pre-position is a placing before. If the preposition is at the end, well, it is a simple contradiction. Enough of English already! It is just a peeve of mine, not a pet one of course!
The Resurrection is the most emphatic element in the long sentence of God’s loving history with all humankind. There had been many prepositions used within that sacred history. “Before” the world was made and “after” the Fall were important words indicating time. “Upon” is an indication of where, mountains of revelation and the body of the woman who gave the Word a sacred position.
We are praying and living with the position the resurrected Jesus has taken within our lives. His placement in history gives us the position of emphasis in this world. His Holy Spirit is within and with us urging us to take positions of revelation within our families, communities and our world. We pray these days with the growing sense of His final statement that our lives are a continuation of the long sacred sentence of God’s love.
What we hear in our First Reading are the jealous leaders of the religious establishment confronting Peter and the others with their being disobedient to previous orders to be silent.
After reviewing how Jesus had been silenced by his being hanged at the hands of these very leaders, Peter and the other apostles leave in high spirits, because they had been proven worthy by being treated in the same way as Jesus, except not physically - not yet.
There are some quite touching scenes in today’s Gospel. The first is that of Peter and his companions who decide to return to the life from which Jesus had called them . . . fishing. Jesus, who had told them at his washing of their feet that apart from him they could do nothing, do nothing for their all night fishing. When it was already dawn the great Fisherman appears and catches them according to what catches fisherman, a great catch of fish.
So here again we have the favorite theme of John, bad things happen at night and Jesus as light does great things during the daylight. They come to the realization that it is the Lord and the catch becomes secondary, at least for a while.
The second scene is a reunion at the breakfast table. Peter who had warmed himself by a charcoal fire while betraying Jesus, is invited to bring some of his catch to be cooked on the charcoal fire where Jesus was already cooking fish and bread. This is a socially awkward situation, but Jesus breaks the tension by distributing the bread and fish to them. Earlier in their relationship, Jesus had taken loaves and fish to distribute to them and many others. This scene ends with that symbolic gesture of reconciliation. They know who he is in the sharing of the bread.
The final scene focuses on the recommitment of Peter and the missioning of Peter by Jesus. Peter is invited to follow Jesus once more and this time for keeps. This scene ends with Peter’s following Jesus to a life which will imitate that of Jesus even to the manner of his death.
When going to visit the doctor I make sure I am wearing squeaky-clean underwear. When going to the dentist I make sure I have flossed and really scrubbed my molars. When found, we want to be found at our best. Jesus had the delightful and delighting habit of meeting people where they would rather not be met at all. A fisher-person does not want anybody to ask about how many fish have been caught if their stringer is empty. Jesus meets his beloved disciples quite fishless and quite sinful.
After the Resurrection, Jesus went about collecting his beloved women and men friends and usually in the socially and spiritually awkward settings. He continues doing the same thing in our lives. He does not check the under garments, but the inner. He does not check the molars for cavities, but asks what we are doing with our emptiness. He emptied himself by living his whole life even to his last. He emptied his tomb to fill our empty boats and lives with his Eucharistic presences.
What he comes to offer us is our lives as bread for others and the mission to follow him, to where we do not know. The emptiness of Peter’s boat was the last experience of emptiness in his life. Jesus continues meeting us where we would rather not be met. Jesus continues calling us to where we might rather not go and that is into the mystery of his love.
“Away grief’s grasping joyless days, dejection.” G. M. Hopkins, S.J.
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