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May 1

John 21, 1-3

Something to read

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

What is most interesting about Jesus, whom Christians confess as the incarnation of God and Second Person of the Trinity, is that his apostles are not sophisticated, not wealthy and not important.

They are ordinary peasants, fishermen, in Roman-occupied Palestine. Fishing was (and still can be) a dirty business, so dirty that Jewish fishermen of that time did not wear clothes while at work. They fished naked.

This seemingly salacious piece of information highlights the point: our last resurrection story of Jesus begins in a boat with five naked fishermen on a large lake in Galilee.

It has none of the solemnity we expect of the apostles, the way they are pictured in sacred art, in Roman togas and with luminous halos around their heads.

However, with eighty percent of the world in poverty, we can see this story as illustrative of whom Jesus called to be his disciples – the poorest of men and women, who often did the jobs no one wanted.

Something to do

When you see the homeless with inadequate clothing, when you see television images of poverty, think about the fact One of the Trinity took on flesh, dwelt with us, and chose as his apostles poor people who became the bearers of the Gospel to the world, and in whose name we build lavish cathedrals and shrines.

Something to pray

Risen Lord Jesus, we remember your apostles were poor and yet you chose them to be your witnesses in the world to the Good News.

Help us to see in those who are poor, whom we have always with us, not helplessness or persons to be pitied, but people who bear the image of God and who are as dear to you as the apostles whom we hold in honour.

Help us to serve the poor, for it is in doing so – in being servants to those who are never served, that we serve you. Amen.

Today's contributor is the Rev James Matarazzo Jr, a United Church of Christ (USA) minister from Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to London in 2007. Jim is a founding member of INERELA+ (International Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Affected by HIV and AIDS), a Christian Aid partner. He is now working on a DPhil in Systematic Theology at Oxford University.

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