"It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though His disciples did not realize that it was Jesus". He tells them to cast their net out to catch fish, calling them 'friends' as he did so - though He appeared to be a 'stranger'. Following His directions, they do catch fish - a lot of them! - and St. John says to Peter after seeing this miracle (they had fished all night without catching even one!), "It is the Lord!" St. Peter, apparently believing what John said, jumped into the sea and swam to shore. At breakfast on the shore, St. John made the observation that "None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, "Who are You?": they knew quite well it was the Lord". The proof - besides the miracle of the fish? Jesus spoke to them intimately, asking Peter "Do you love Me?" and also affirming St. John with the words, "If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you (Peter)? You are to follow Me." It must have been disconcerting to the disciples to look at this man - looking so different than the Jesus they had walked with for the last 3 years - and realize that, despite appearances, HE WAS JESUS.
Strangers? Those people in the elevator with you. Those waiting in line to buy groceries. That person sitting alone on a park bench. That woman in the church who no one talks to. They are all the strangers that Jesus so powerfully identifies Himself with. He said, "When I was a stranger you welcomed Me". Welcoming means being friendly, putting the stranger at ease, trying to meet their needs, especially for human contact. This is what Jesus meant and is the way He is with everyone. This is how Jesus feels and treats us since, as a human, he learned that no one is really a stranger. Everyone is a friend - a member of the family of God. My new client was a stranger, as was the homeless lady. I had another chance with my client but never saw the homeless lady again. God give me grace, the next time, to be warm and welcoming to her as a human being, as a child of God, as Christ suffering. Jesus help me to see You in everyone I met, especially the sad, lonely and forsaken.