What is the nature of discipleship? When today the Apostles go fishing they take advice from a stranger to throw their net to starboard.
One hundred and fifty three are caught, the number of fish species then thought to exist. So if we take Jesus’ advice even as a stranger we shall catch all Creation, or that is the message. But rather it is the hourly scene on the beach that catches our attention, the gulled fish and bread are more attractive than the whole of creation.
I went to the Barocci exhibition at the National Gallery. He is an exquisite sixteenth-century painter in portraiture and religious scenes. The exhibition was almost empty, the crowds go for the big names. Earlier in the week I went to Pompeii at the British Museum and Manet at the Royal Academy and we couldn’t move.
Barochi worked notoriously slowly taking years on a picture. Doing various studies of form and bodily movement and faces to make the final result.
He hardly ever left Urbino, living quietly and long. Every figure is a dramatic masterpiece.
But sadly there were no pictures of these Easter scenes or they were not here.
“They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them.” (Luke 24:35-48)
I woke up in the night and imagined myself in these Easter week scenes. It’s not so much lectio divina, reading slowly, understanding the text, asking what does it mean to me as what I call imagino divina: trying to remember the text, scene by scene.
Tonight I was trying to remember everyone’s favourite story: the disciples meet Jesus on the road from Emmaus.
I was walking with them. I am walking with theirs. And my eyes closed.
First I am dejected, then I listen, but I am listening so hard.
“Then starting with Moses and going through the Prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that we about Himself.”
And still they do not recognise Him. And still I do not recognise Him.
So I plod on in my dream.
And then we go into the house together.
“Now while He was with them at table, He took the bread and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened, but He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:13-35)
This happens to me: I believe for a moment, then He vanishes.
“…As she said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there through she did not recognise him…” (John 20:11-18)
I always think of my poor faith at this point. Do I turn round and He is standing there and I do not recognise Him?
I love the Masses of Easter Week. The readings are sublime. The Church bedecked with flowers.
“Filled with awe and great joy, the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.” (Matthew 28:8-15)
They have been running ever since… to tell us.