Jesus appears to some of the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius in today’s gospel passage. The way he does so is worth noting. Jesus (who appears in a way that they cannot recognize him) sees the disciples out in their boat fishing and asks them whether they have caught any fish. When they tell him that they have not, Jesus tells them to cast their net over the other side of the boat. They then obtain a large catch.
As they approach the shore they see Jesus (they still do not recognize him) cooking fish and bread over a charcoal fire. They don’t dare to ask him who he is, although at least one of the disciples (the beloved disciple – presumably John) tells Peter that the figure on the shore is Jesus. One of the beautiful touches of the story is that Jesus is on the shore cooking them breakfast. They are hungry from the night’s fishing, and Jesus anticipates their needs. It reminds us that Jesus is always there to feed us in word and in eucharist.
Why does Jesus look different? Perhaps because he has taken on a glorified form. Or perhaps he looks unfamiliar as a means of teaching the disciples (and us) that he is found in the faces of many around us and that we should be open to his presence even if it comes in a form that we do not recognize. Jesus wants our ability to see him to be expanded beyond the ways that we are comfortable with.
Look and see his face. It is everywhere to be found!