Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Sermon 4/14/13

In today's gospel the apostles go fishing, Christ appears on the shore, gives them a catch and discusses Peter's devotion. This is Christ's third appearance after rising from the dead.

There is, as usual, a lot to wonder about. Are the disciples regressing to their original lives? What is the meaning of Christ's distance at their meeting--so Emmaus-like? Is Christ recreating the Last Supper and revising Peter's denial?

One interesting, if peripheral, notion is a small point of friendship. John refers to "that disciple .....whom Jesus loved." 

There is a lot of complexity here. Later Christ talks with Peter about love and the discussion bounces between Greek subtleties of different meanings of love, "agapao" represents a sacrificial love or total commitment, and "phileo" defined as fondness. Elaine Pagels says that the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is an effort by the evangelist to de-emphasize Peter's relationship with Christ.

But there is another view. Friendship is not a common theme in the New Testament. The pagans, without a spiritual ideal, pay great attention to friendship. (Patroklos and Achilles, Gilgamesh and Enkidu.) Christians have often been accused of overlooking the life of the world with a preoccupation of the overshadowing afterlife.

Here is a very concrete example where friendship is inherent to the Christian story.

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