Summary: This was written and delivered as a memorial Homily for Michael Cutrer [Ka-trair]. Executive Chef at Rocky Gap State Park Lodge near Cumberland, MD (the lodge sets right next to Lake Habeb. Therefore it was written and delivered as a memorial to his life
Breakfast by the Lake
John 21: 9b; 12-13
Written by Paul E. Dietz as a Memorial Homily
The wood had now burnt long enough to be glowing embers of charcoal. The fire was cracking and popping a little. The waves were slapping the shoreline of the lake. A mist was rising off the water and being burned away by the morning sun. It was a good morning for a breakfast of fish and bread. But he did not want to eat alone.
Not far from the shore were a few friends. They had been out of the lake all night fishing. They had cast there nets into the welcoming waters several times throughout the darkness of the cool night. But, of course, they had not been as fortunate as some of the others that had also spent their night upon the waters of the lake.
As their boat neared the shore, this lone character sitting by the fire invites them to come eat breakfast with him. They readily accept the invitation without hesitation for they now are able to recognize who it is that has bade them to make an approach. It is their teacher and friend, Jesus.
Jesus has already prepared the fish and bread and has been awaiting their return to the shore. He had most likely purchased the tilapia fish from other fisherman that had come in from fishing all night a little earlier in the morning. In the nearby town of Capernaum he had bought a few loaves of freshly bake barley bread to accompany the fish.
As he prepared the fish for the fire he had applied a pinch of sea salt to each filet as well as coated it liberally with several freshly picked herbs. He then poured a drizzle of olive oil on each one and wrapped them individually in large grape leaves picked earlier that morning at a nearby vineyard. After having carried them all to the water’s edge he dipped each one into water to moisten the leaf as to create a steaming package in which to cook the tender filets. He then laid each packet on the hot stones surrounding the glowing fire and before long puffs of steam began to blow from each pouch of fish.
To intensify the taste of the breakfast bread he had taken each barley loaf and split in open. He then trickled each piece with a few drops of olive oil and rubbed in a mixture of sesame seed and herbs. He followed this by laying each opened face of the bread toward the fire to toast them to a golden brown.
Oh the smell of the cooking fish and toasting bread was filling the air about the spit as the men approached him. He once again invited them to sit and partake of this special morning feast he had prepared just for them.
But why? Why go to such great extent to prepare such a meal for a common group of fisherman? Why them? Were there not more important people in the nearby towns who maybe did not have the means to even have such a feast?
He knew exactly why he had chosen this particular moment in time and also knew the personal needs of each of his invited guest as well. Their lives had recently been shaken. Their teacher and friend had died. He had been arrested and treated like a common criminal by the so called religious right of his day. They had wrongly judged him calling for a horrific punishment of torture and death. Then after his demise his body was placed in a borrowed tomb and sealed shut by the Roman governing bodies.
Of course they had all seen him since. He had returned from the dead just as he had promised. But yet, they were having a dreadful experience and just could not quite wrap their minds around all the happenings. They just seemed to have trouble really understanding the immense meaning of it all. Him now being alive again and now sitting there right among them this very morning by the lake: What will this mean for them?
They had felt all the pangs of dealing with their rabbi’s death. Each one of them, especially Peter, had felt all alone in the world. So deep was this feeling of abandonment that he and the others were driven to return to their hometowns and take up once again their various trades. The great following this man had had seemed to have just vanished. They no longer had a leader that was guiding them along life’s journey. A few of them had run away to hide from authorities. One had betrayed him and another had denied having nay association with him at all. They all, but one had turned their back on him and his family members leaving them to deal with their bereavement processes alone; all this in their greatest hour of need.