THE LORD HAS MADE KNOWN HIS SALVATION TO US THROUGH CHRIST
(THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2019)
Today's gospel recalls the circumstances of Peter's call to follow Jesus, although at that time he was still called "Simon." Simon has just finished a long, hard day of fishing with nothing to show for it. Jesus climbs into his boat and asks him to put out a bit from shore so he can better teach the crowd that has gathered. When finished, Jesus then tells Simon to lower his nets for a catch. Skeptical, Simon does as he is asked and is astounded at the results - two boats filled with fish! "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Simon Peter and his friends are amazed and humbled by this catch, and then Jesus invites them to follow him, and they "left everything and followed him."
We can see that this gospel from Luke gives us the nice story of how Jesus called Simon and others to be His disciples.
The gospels of Matthew and Mark tell us about how Jesus saw Simon and his brother Andrew fishing and said: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. St Luke’s version is more elaborate and a longer version. The call of Peter and his companion took place when Jesus delivered His message of life to the crowd and after the miracle of the catch that happened, Peter then confessed his sins and humbled himself before Christ and after that, his profession was changed to fishers of men. We can see that this story is about “vocation”.
Today we celebrate our own calling to life in Christ as we hear how Jesus called the fishermen to discipleship, and how they immediately accepted His invitation. The first reading rejoices in the “spiritual wisdom and understanding” that Paul’s students are acquiring, “growing in the knowledge of God” and becoming “fit to share…” in salvation. Then the Psalm sings that “The Lord has made known His salvation.
Many experiences in life do not turn out as we would prefer. We know that sometimes our best efforts will lead to disappointment. But sometimes God also intervenes in a way that causes us to look with wonder at his work in our lives.
When a contract comes through at the last minute, we land a job we needed, or we experience the grace of healing for a loved one, we experience tears of relief and joy at such times. When our boats are loaded unexpectedly, we then see the goodness of God; we also see our own shortcomings and lack of trust in God’s goodness. Like Peter, who initially responded to Jesus as “Master”, perhaps out of courtesy or a sense of social obligation, we respond to God differently after he fills our boat.
We see in a new way; our eyes are opened to the work of God and to our need to grow in it.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians also reminds us that we need the perspective of community and prayer to avoid being trapped by disappointments. Having “the spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” is not something we acquire or retain very well on our own.
We need that unceasing prayer about which Paul writes! Peter could not have understood his night of fruitless labour fully until his boat was filled that next day. Perhaps our efforts that don’t pay off immediately are also shaping our lives in a way that is not yet apparent to us. We need the encouragement of friends during such times.
Moreover, we need to be reminded of an abiding and important truth: God “has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1: 12b-14). These are not just empty words. We are being equipped to live with God and the saints forever. Let us pray for one another and share a kind word with a friend today who may need encouragement to press on in the midst of a difficult time.
It is so clear: we have to “come after Him,” even as He has come after us. It’s not enough for any one of us to be the fish only, we have to also be the fishers of persons. It’s not enough for us to be lost sheep found only by Him, we have to be shepherds too. Every single one of us! We have to be the fishers of men of the 21st century.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, help me to listen to your voice and obey your command always so that I will experience the joy and miracle that comes from you. Amen.