While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening
to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Love Takes Courage
Neophytes in the spiritual life are sometimes heard saying: “I must improve my prayer life.” They think loving God is mostly up to them and their spiritual gymnastics. Jesus gently reminds all of us that the spiritual life is a love affair and serious lovers don’t think first about themselves but rather about the Beloved.
Instinctively, we tend to trust our own experience and our own judgement over the Beloved as Peter does today. He was almost certain there were no fish left to be caught. But like a real lover Peter went with Jesus’ kind suggestion that led to a great reward of fish for him and his buddies.
Peter is learning to love in small ways. Now it is a catch of fish and soon will be human beings. It is a powerful “wow” moment for Peter. The gospel uses the word “astonishment.” Peter will not forget this day for a long time. It’s what happens between lovers.
Jesus added two negatives – don’t be afraid and don’t think it is all up to you. Peter and his friends changed their lives forever as: “they left everything and followed him.”
Brother Edward Phelan, F.S.C.
Lasallian Community at Bedford Park
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.