Today’s Gospel reading from St. John reminds me of a song my family used to sing as grace before meals, “Come and Dine” by CB Widmeyer. Here are the words:
“Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine. He who fed the multitudes, turned the waters into wine, to the hungry ones calleth now, “Come and dine.”
In His third appearance to some of his apostles after His resurrection, Jesus calls them to “Come and have breakfast” after showing them where to cast their nets for 153 large fish. They fished all night without catching anything and must have been exhausted, disappointed, and hungry. St. John has preserved the scene for us. “They saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.”
Put yourself in the scene. You are wet and cold and the smell of barbecued fish and fresh bread make your mouth water. The campfire takes the chill away and you stop shivering. You did not realize that Jesus could cook. But then you recall that His mother was such a gracious hostess.
Two to three months later, after the Ascension and Pentecost, two of those disciples, Peter and John, are walking to the temple in Jerusalem to pray. They are accosted by a man crippled from birth, asking for alms. Peter and John look intently at him and said “Silver and gold have we none, but what we have, we give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And then, perhaps, remembering how Jesus raised the dead daughter of Jairus, Peter gives his hand to the man. The man proceeds to leap and jump and praise God. The crowd responds with amazement and 5000 are converted when Peter preaches the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and faith in the name of Jesus, as the sources of this beggar’s healing. In Acts 4:12, Peter ends his sermon proclaiming: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
Peter and John were blessed by the table fellowship of three years with Jesus Christ. His washing of their feet at the Last Supper and his serving of breakfast on the Sea of Galilee convinced them of His love and divinity and modeled for them how to serve others and to proclaim the power in the name of Jesus the Nazarean.
Revelation 3:20 tells us that Jesus stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to respond, open the door, and come in to dine with us. Jesus reiterates, “Come and dine” every time we celebrate the Eucharist, when the priest genuflects and holds up the Host and says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”
Do we hear him? Do we open our hearts to Him and truly commune with Him? Let us eat and drink the heavenly banquet for strength and healing and eternal life so that we can proclaim salvation through the name of Jesus Christ to a hungry, crippled world.