Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Sea is a Figure of the World

The Gospel reading from Matins of Wednesday in Easter week was John 21:1-14, in which Jesus stands on the shore while Peter and the others are fishing and tells them to cast their nets to the other side of the boat.

In the commentary on this, St. Gregory the Great is quoted (reading 3):

Weather...tossing us to and fro!
It may likewise be asked why, when the disciples were toiling in the sea, the Lord, after His Resurrection, stood on the shore, whereas, before His Resurrection, He had walked on the waves before them all. The reason of this is quickly known if we will think of the end which it then served. The sea is a figure of this present world, tossed to and fro by changing fortune, and continually ebbing and flowing with the divers tides of life. The stableness of the shore is an image of the never-ending rest of the eternal home. The disciples therefore, for that they were yet tossed to and fro upon the waves of a dying life, were toiling in the sea, but He our Redeemer, Who had already laid aside that which in this body is subject to corruption, and had risen again from the dead, He stood upon the shore.

I like this imagery…the present world is something that tosses us about, isn’t it?! And we need to remind ourselves constantly (or, at least, I do!) that we are working our way toward that stable shore, which is our true home.  Our trials and tribulations in this world are temporary, and they are much more bearable when we focus on the eternal.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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