Jesus began his ministry walking along the sea of Galilea where he meets Simon and Andrew, fishermen who joined his team of disciples. Then he meets James and John working in the same waters. They also follow him giving up their profession, family, and communities. Jesus inspired them.
Today they return along with Peter and the others to where they are comfortable., to the lake. They know how to fish even though on occasions they caught little or nothing. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus returns to the sea to contact his friends. He helps them catch fish, he cooks breakfast and eats with them, one presumes fish and bread. He tells them to tend to and feed his sheep. It is the same for us today.
The war in Ukraine reminds us at this time of the capacity of humanity to create destruction, despair, anger, and frustration. It is best described as barbarism and bloodshed displacing millions of people, destroying hope, and we seem powerless to intervene and stop the atrocities. Equally, it is outrage that I feel – hearing that parts of the Church in Russia are not opposed to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine while religious leaders, including our own Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope, have condemned it. At the same time, thousands of people across the world of all faiths and without faith are responding with open arms with medical aid, housing, food, and compassion to those who have been able to escape while political leaders in Europe, the United States, and member countries of the United Nations and Britain, fearful of an escalation of the current conflict seem only to be able to respond in a limited way imposing sanctions.
Please keep the people of Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers at this time. Our responsibility is to open our hearts to everyone who finds themselves or their loved ones suffering or at a loss. Just as Jesus came back to remind his disciples that the greatest gift is love so may we remind ourselves likewise.