New Zealand Jubilee Celebrations
“Come and have breakfast.” (Jn. 21: 18). An irresistible invitation from our Risen Lord to his grieving disciples one day following his Resurrection. We know the background: the disciples are lost, still in denial so, under Peter’s initiative, they return to what they know well and do best, their fishing. Having caught nothing all night, they’re also despondent. Jesus is waiting for them on the shore, has the barbecue lit, and invites them to join him with the gifts of their own hard work. His voice is warm and gentle and his forgiving look is filled with love and joy. I like to think that Jesus’ mother Mary was there too, quietly mothering these men whom her Son loved so much. This is one of many mystical moments that capture us throughout the gospels, and especially in this Eastertide. And every day when we go to Mass and Holy Communion, Jesus invites us also to breakfast with him.
This wonderful Resurrection story inspires me to reflect on our two Jubilees this year: Sr. Margaret Lancaster with 50 Golden Years in the Little Company of Mary, and myself with 70 Platinum Years. Between us, we have strived to live God’s overwhelming, unconditional love for humankind, through Mary Potter’s spirituality of prayer and care for the sick, suffering, hurting and dying people around us. In our ageing, we have grown in understanding that Mary Potter’s focus on the suffering and dying Christ was to lead us to fulness of life through his glorious Resurrection. We’ve come to understand that God’s love links our every prayer, thought and action; God’s love “continually hits the cosmic fan,” as one theologian expresses it.
Margaret and I also share a personal sorrow as we have both lost a sibling in recent times, a deep aching sadness for us both. However, in this Eastertide we are gifted the strength to give our loved ones back to God, knowing that they have now risen with Christ to Eternal Life. The Resurrection is good news, not just for Jesus but for us too. Peter and his companions began to learn this astounding truth on that lake shore where Jesus was waiting for them, with breakfast on the way. They were overwhelmed and overjoyed by Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness. Margaret and I have travelled the Little Company of Mary journey in our individual ways over the years, forming a relationship with Jesus and companionship with Mary his Mother; we have experienced God’s love for ourselves. Our paths have sometimes intersected in the loving care and nurturing we have offered to the dying members of Christ’s Body here in our tiny part of Planet Earth. We are filled with gratitude to God for having called us to be part of his mission, to our Communities for their support, and to those who have welcomed us into their suffering and dying. As we renew our commitment for the future and whatever it holds, we reflect that we can bump into the Risen Lord at any time, at home, in the supermarket, on the sports field, at prayer. When we recognise him, we too will be filled with joy and hope. Mary Potter’s Easter words echo in our hearts: We live in the glad day of the Resurrection! May it be a fresh joy to us each day. Alleluia!
Photos: Sr Margaret Lancaster’s Jubilee