One of the phrases I remember hearing rather often from my father when one or another family member would be explaining something in a long or roundabout way is “Short stories” (Which sounded like “Shot stories” in his Boston accent). It was a familiar way to tell us to get to the point and was generally rather effective.
One would wish the opposite of that directive after reading the conclusion of today’s gospel. It says: “There are also many things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think that the whole world would contain the book that would be written.” (JN 21:25) How I wish that the gospel writers had given us more of Jesus! I say that and then think of how much more I could do with what is written in those very pages. And I could, if I wished, fill a whole building with the commentaries that have been written over the centuries.
What really is the point? My short answer today is my desire to understand more deeply what Jesus was talking about and witnessing to his legacy to us. Next I think that in trying so hard to “get to the bottom” of his meanings I could easily be buried in the mountains of commentary that exists. Then I realize that I could spend a lifetime ruminating on a very few sentences. Take these for example:
- Love one another as I have loved you.
- Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.
- I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.
Short stories, indeed…